Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Tribute to Dr. Charles "Fritz" Gritzner
Dr. Charles "Fritz" Gritzner, Distinguished Professor of Geography, has officially retired. He was and continues to be an inspiration to both his students and those who were fortunate enough to meet him. Fritz had expertise in both cultural geography and geographic education. His career spanned across the country while focusing on college instruction at East Carolina University, Louisiana State University, University of Montana, University of Houston and South Dakota State University. However, one of his favorite things to do was to visit schools and tell children about geography and geographic adventures with his stuffed animal friend Bov.
It was at a high school talk, sans Bov, that I met Dr. Gritzner. Dr. Gritzner opened my eyes (I flunked his geography trick pop quiz) to the wide range of subjects that could be studied geographically. I learned from him that it is possible not only to major in geography but, more importantly, I could have a career in the field. He also directed my love of geography into the subfield of Cultural Geography (the old school study of different cultures ala anthropology, not the modern sociology-like subfield).
Dr. Gritzner dedicated his career to expanding geography to the masses. Two of his best works are call to actions that better explain just what geography is. They are "Why Geography?" and "What is Where? Why There? and Why Care?". These are must reads for any geographic educator. Other works of his include world regional and human geography textbooks as well as studying the geography of the paranormal.
This blog is in part inspired by Dr. Gritzner's work of making geography accessible, fun, and entertaining to all. I can only hope to reach as many people as Fritz has done.