MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Location: file:///C:/D96BCAB9/Zorn_history.htm Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" The California Geographical

The California Geographical

Society: A Retrospective Look



Jenny Zorn


California State University San Bernardino



of geographers from across the state. The strength = of the organization has endured over fifty-eight years and currently the CGS is

enjoying one of its strongest eras. There are other= state geographical societies but none as active and respected as the CGS, which i= s

widely viewed as the premier state geographical soc= iety. The CGS

hosts a large annual conference; publishes a high-q= uality academic

journal and a professional quality newsletter; awar= ds more than

$2,000 annually in student scholarships and prizes, including an

endowed student award; hosts a listserve; and has a diverse membership that includes students, K–12 teachers, community college

and university faculty, and applied geographers.


It hasn’t always been this way for the CGS. T= he organization has

had periods of instability and uncertainty as well = as periods of prosperity. It has had times of visionary leadership as well as times where

it has drifted. I write this article from my perspe= ctive as a ten-year

member and immediate past president. I came to the = game relatively late, having attended my first meeting in 1994 (five years

after I first arrived in California) at Cal Poly Po= mona, at the urging

of Joe Beaton. I was immediately hooked, and have n= ot missed a

meeting since. I soon became involved in editorial = work for the

CGS Bulletin, knowing that I wanted to associate wi= th, learn from,

and grow with this group.


Many members have been active with the CGS far long= er than I

and know much more than I do about the organization’s past. But

despite my relatively short history, I have learned= a great deal about

the organization through a review of the presidenti= al archives and

conversations with some of the “old timers.&#= 8221; They have provided

the insights and perspectives that give the CGS the foundation for

its current strength and high standing.



History of the CGS


In 1946 V. Calvon McKim, State Director of the Nati= onal Council of

Geography Teachers and Chair of the Geography-Geolo= gy Department at Fresno State College, contacted Clifford Zierer, UCLA Geograp= hy Department Chair, suggesting “the possibility of establishing a state council and proposing a meeting” (Carthew 1965, 11).

Zierer assigned Henry J. Bruman, Assistant Professo= r of Geography

at UCLA, the task of calling together geography edu= cators from across

the state.


Letters of invitation were sent (Figure 1) and on December 7, 1946,

a group of seventeen geographers met in Royce Hall = at UCLA “to

discuss the role of geography in the schools of California and the

possibility of organizing a State section of the Na= tional Council of

Geography Teachers.” (The National Council ha= d been pushing individual states to establish state councils.) Thus began what we = now

know as the California Geographical Society.


In the immediate years following World War II, geog= raphic educators were seeking to keep geography in the forefront of academic

arenas. While the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers (APCG)

already existed as a professional organization, tho= se at the UCLA

meeting felt it focused too heavily on graduate res= earch, and that

California needed a geographical organization to ad= dress all educational levels. At that meeting in 1946, the seventeen founding members—men and women from universities, community colleges, and

high schools throughout the state (Table 1)—organized as the “California Council of Geography Teachers.”


The name of the organization has at times been subj= ect to debate.

In 1960, a move to change the organization’s = focus from teaching

to research forced the membership to consider a name change, but

in the end members voted to maintain its mission an= d name

(Carthew 1965). In 1969, after some deliberation, t= he organization

made a minor name change to the “California C= ouncil for Geographic Education” (from the “California Council of Geography



By the 1970s, the organization had moved beyond its formative

years and began to examine its mission. President R= ichard A. Ellefsen

(1971–72) established a new “Grass Roots Program” that the next

president, William J. Frazer (1972–73), conti= nued to implement.

According to CGS archival records, the goal of the = Grass Roots Pro-


The California Geographer ¦ Volume 43, 2003 =



Figure 1—H. J. Bruman’s 1946 letter.


gram was to aid in the improvement and promotion of geographic

education at all levels within the state. This was = to be accomplished

by developing a regional network of geographers to = work on curriculum and teacher credentialing and to organize workshops. As

the decade progressed, the CGS became increasingly active, working closely with the K–12 community. President Christophe= r L. Salter

brought higher visibility to the organization throu= gh various media outlets and journals.


In 1983, the organization assumed a broader mission= and changed

its name to the “California Geographical Society” in order to at-


Geographic Chronicles



Table 1—CGS Founding Members


Name School Affiliation


Homer Aschmann San Diego State College

Ruth Baugh UCLA

Rex Brittinghan Ventura Junior College

Henry Bruman UCLA

Arthur Carthew Los Angeles City College

Myrtle Grenels Fresno State College

Walter Hacker San Francisco State College

Cecilia Irvine University High School, Los Angeles =

John Kesseli UC Berkeley


V. Calvon McKim Fresno State College

Robert Pease Hollywood High School

Lauren Post San Diego State College

Ida Mae Shrode Pasadena City College

Adolf Stone Long Beach City College

Alfred Sumner Stanford University

Walter Willey El Rodeo School, Beverly Hills

Clifford Zierer UCLA

tract members outside of education. The past twenty= years have

seen the CGS build on its solid reputation. In the = late 1990s, in an

effort to boost student participation, the organiza= tion began offering more student scholarships and awards. Students now assume

leadership roles, with representatives on the CGS b= oard voicing student needs and concerns.




The CGS has enjoyed a strong history of visionary leadership. A

total of forty-nine people have served as president= of the organization since its inception—thirty-seven from universities or colleges,

nine from community colleges, and three from high schools. The

initial convener, V. Calvon McKim, served as the fi= rst president.

Not surprisingly, the first four presidents were am= ong the

organization’s founding members (Table 2).


Thirty-two years after founding member Arthur Carth= ew served as

president (1948–49), his son John was elected (1980), making them

the only father-and-son presidents of the organizat= ion. John is an

example of past presidents who remain active in the organization;

twenty-three years after his presidency he still is= a force at the meetings.


It took thirty years for members to elect a woman t= o the presidency:

in 1976 Gertrude Reith from CSU Fullerton became the first female

president of the CGS. Since Reith’s path-brea= king election, four other


The California Geographer ¦ Volume 43, 2003 =



Table 2—CGS Presidents


Year President School Affiliation


California Council of Geography Teachers (1946–1969)


1946–47 V. Calvon McKim Fresno State College =

1947–48 Walter Hacker San Francisco State Col= lege

1948–49 Arthur Carthew Los Angeles City Colle= ge

1949–50 Robert Pease Hollywood High School

1950–51 Benjamin Thomas UCLA

1951–52 Chester Cole Fresno State College

1952–53 David Lantis University of Southern California

1953–54 Alfred Butz Santa Rosa Jr. College

1954–55 Bruce Ogilvie Chico State College

1955–56 David Jennings LA City College

1956–57 Adolf Stone Long Beach City College <= /p>

1957–58 Robert Johnston Petaluma High School =

1958–59 Robert Eidt Los Angeles State College=

1959–60 Walter Olson San Francisco State Coll= ege

1960–61 Howard Nelson UCLA

1961–62 John Crosby Fresno State College

1962–63 Lauren Post San Diego State College <= /p>

1963–64 Raymond Stanley San Jose State Colleg= e

1964–65 Sheldon Erickson Long Beach State

1965–66 Arthur Karinen Chico State College

1966–67 Robert Richardson San Diego State Col= lege

1967–68 William Thomas CSC Hayward

1968–69 Rodney Steiner Long Beach State Colle= ge


California Council for Geographic Education (1969–1983)


1969–70 George Nasse Fresno State College

1970–71 Charles Yahr San Diego State College =

1971–72 Richard Ellefsen San Jose State

1972 (1 week) D.R. Lee Florida Atlantic University =

1972–73 William Frazer Sonoma State College <= /p>

1973–74 James Switzer Southwestern College

1974–75 Thomas Pagenhart CSU Hayward

1975–76 Christopher Salter UCLA

1976–77 Gertrude Reith CSU Fullerton

1977–78 Thomas Best CSU Los Angeles

1978–79 David Hendrickson Fresno CC

1979–80 Donald Holtgrieve CSU Hayward

1980–81 John Carthew Pierce College

1981–82 Charles Yahr San Diego State

1982–83 Joseph Leeper Humboldt State


California Geographical Society (1983–present= )


1983–85 James Blick College of the Sequoias <= /p>

1985–87 Susan Hardwick CSU Chico

1987–88 Clement Padick CSU Los Angeles

1988–91 Richard Hough San Francisco State

1991–93 David Helgren San Jose State

1993–95 Bruce Bechtol CSU Chico

1995–97 Stephen Slakey La Puente HS/Universit= y of La Verne

1997–99 Stephen Cunha Humboldt State Universi= ty

1999–01 Carol Cox Sierra College

2001–03 Jenny Zorn California State Universit= y San Bernardino

2003–05 Debra Sharkey Cosumnes River College =


Geographic Chronicles



women have served as president: Susan Hardwick, CSU= Chico (1985–

87), Carol Jean Cox, Sierra College (1999–200= 1), Jenny Zorn, CSU

San Bernardino (2001–03), and current Preside= nt Debra Sharkey,

Cosumnes River College (2003–05).


Until 1983, presidents served a one-year term; sinc= e then they have

served two-year terms. Presidents typically serve o= n the board for a

few years prior to election to a two-year term as v= ice president, followed by a two-year presidential term and then another two-ye= ar

term on the board as past president. Therefore, a r= un for vice president is a six-year commitment. The dedication of the presidents i= s

evident by their continued participation in the org= anization well

after their years of intense leadership. Indeed, ea= ch year eight to

ten past presidents can be seen actively participat= ing in the meetings and organization. They serve as senior advisors and mentors

for the current board, offering encouragement, gent= le criticism, sage

advice, and insightful ideas for the betterment of = the CGS.


CGS board members, elected by the general membershi= p, assume

active roles in the organization. Positions include president, vice

president, past president, secretary, and treasurer. Board members

also assume responsibilities at meetings (organizing vendors, judging student competitions, awarding student scholarships, etc.)= . In

addition, they help run elections, work on publicit= y and membership, and perform many other tasks. I have served in various other

volunteer organizations and find the CGS board an exceptional

group of dedicated, reliable professionals. They as= sume their responsibilities with sincere concern for the organization, the membe= rship, and the discipline. It is difficult to imagine a better assemblage of volunteers.


Other dedicated volunteers—who may or may not= be on the board—

include a business manager, the editors of The Cali= fornia Geographer

and the CGS Bulletin, and a Webmaster (a position c= reated in the

1990s as the CGS moved into the Internet age with i= ts own Web



Today CGS membership stands at 472, the highest yet documented.

During most of the 1960s and 1970s the organization= had over 300

members and usually more than 400. Very few records= of membership statistics are available for the 1980s and 1990s, so it is impossible to identify trends in membership during this period.


The California Geographer ¦ Volume 43, 2003 =



Financial Status


At present, the financial status of the organizatio= n is stable and

secure. The road to this security was long, however= , with a few short

inclines between the steep declines. At times, the balance in the

treasury was unknown due to a missing checkbook or records in

disarray. Today’s treasurer, Bill Holder, has maintained impeccable

records that show the organization’s financial health at its very best.

Over the past decade, the board has acted responsib= ly and conservatively to ensure continued financial stability. It has established = a

presidential spending limit and has carefully limit= ed signature lines

on bank accounts to ensure that no single person can abscond with

CGS funds. This became necessary as the treasury ba= lance continued to grow.


The California Geographer


The publication of a journal was a stated goal at t= he initial meeting

of the founding members in 1946. But it wasn’t until 1960 that the

first edition of The California Geographer was prin= ted. The origins of

the journal actually go back to the newsletter of t= he Council, first

edited by Lauren Post of San Diego State College. T= he newsletter

was “published several times a year… [a= nd] covered annual meeting plans, program developments on the campuses, professional

notes and similar matters” (Frazer 1980, 2). =


In 1953, Chester Cole began publishing the Bulletin= in place of the

newsletter, expanding it to include manuscripts. Me= mbers still maintained a goal of publishing a journal, and this was viewed as a s= tep

toward that end (Carthew 1965; Frazer 1980). The 19= 59 Executive

Board was particularly aware of the need for a jour= nal to serve the

“largest and fastest growing concentration of professional geographers in the nation except for Washington, D.C.” (= Frazer 1980, 2).

There was a strong post-World War II expansion of geography and

higher education in California, and the journal was= seen as “a means

of publishing more material on California, on the w= ork of California geographers, or perhaps as an outlet for work which was not

finding space in the four national professional geo= grpahy [sic] journals of the time” (3).


The shallow pockets of the organization in 1959 gav= e the board

reason to pause over this momentous decision. Dues = were $2.00

and annual income totaled less than $500. Producing= a high-quality journal could prove expensive, at least initially. Despite this fis-


Geographic Chronicles



cal uncertainty, the 1959 board gave the go ahead. = Robert A. Kennelly

assumed the editorship and immediately set upon the= task of finding financial support and an inexpensive publisher. He published

the first California Geographer in 1960 with articl= es drawn mostly

from paper presentations at the annual meetings (Ca= rthew 1965;

Frazer 1980).


Editors of The California Geographer have continued= to increase the

quality of the publication, with each editor leaving his/her mark

on the publication (Table 3). There were periods wh= en the publication was nearly not produced and production schedules often lagged. =

However, with the concerted effort of dedicated edi= tors, The California Geographer is now on schedule and continues to include institutional memberships (mainly libraries) in its distribution.


Table 3—Editors of The California Geographer =


Issue Years Editor


1960–1969 Robert A. Kennelly

1970 Robert W. Durrenberger

1971–1972 Elliot G. McIntire

1973–1974 Roderick C. McKenzie

1975–1978 Donald G. Holtgrieve

1979–1982 Ronald F. Lockmann

1983–1990 Donald R. Floyd

1991–1994 Elliot G. McIntire

1995–1996 Bill Takizawa

1997–2001 Ray Sumner

2002–2003 Judy Walton


Associate and Guest Editors


1970 Elliot G. McIntire

1978 Nancy Schluntz

1979 James W. Yerdon

1983–1990 William L. Preston

1995 Ray Sumner

1996 Carol Jean Cox

1997 Arnold Court, Dennis Napier, Barney Warf

1998 David Nemeth

1999 Dale Pullin


Annual Meetings


The initial constitution of 1946 established annual meetings of the

Council. The first meeting was held on Saturday, Ju= ne 21, 1947, in

the San Diego Hotel in conjunction with the APCG me= eting. Homer

Aschmann from San Diego State College was the local arrangements

chair, and Lauren Post gave a slide presentation on “A Geography

Field Trip in San Diego.” In June 1948, the s= econd annual meeting


The California Geographer ¦ Volume 43, 2003 =



was held in Berkeley, where the tradition began of offering a full

slate of paper presentations as well as field trips= . Like many field

trips since, the first was wrought with challenges:= only the leader’s

car completed the trip over the hills of San Franci= sco (Carthew 1965).


In 1949, the APCG planned to meet outside of Califo= rnia, so the

Council held its meeting at Ventura Junior College = and discontinued holding joint meetings with the APCG. The meetings also moved =

to the first week of May, a tradition that remained= until 2003 (Sacramento meeting), when the board moved the meetings to the last

week in April in order to accommodate colleges and universities

with semester schedules. The Ventura meeting includ= ed vendors

for the first time (Carthew 1965), a practice that continues today.

Under the direction of Carol Jean Cox and Debra Sha= rkey, the vendors have become an integral part of the organization and meetings. =


Following the Ventura meeting, the Council establis= hed a policy of

rotating meetings between northern and southern loc= ations

(Carthew 1965). Recent boards have continued this e= ffort, although

not always with strict adherence to the north-south alternation. At

times in the past, no one on the board was from an institution

interested in hosting the meetings, so there was li= ttle or no choice

in locations. However, the pattern has generally he= ld through the

years. A list of the meeting locations (Table 4) demonstrates the

variety of places the CGS has met, including one out-of-state location—Lake Tahoe, Nevada.


The organization’s fifty-seven meetings have = been held as far north

as Redding (40° 36' N), as far south and as far= east as San Diego (32°

43' N, 117° 10' W), as far west as Ukiah (122&d= eg; 12' W), and at many

points in between. There have been a variety of mee= ting hosts: almost half (twenty-eight) were hosted by a university, seventeen we= re

hosted by a community or junior college, seven were= at a hotel,

four at a high school, and one at a member’s townhouse!


The most frequent meeting destinations have been San Diego and

Fresno: the organization met six times in each city= over the years.

Meetings were held in Los Angeles five times; Chico= , Long Beach,

Sacramento, and San Jose three times each; San Luis Obispo, Shasta,

and Ventura twice each; and once each in twenty-one= other cities.

The membership tends to seek out relatively remote locations—

such as, in recent years, Ukiah, Sonora, and Lone Pine—but mem-


Geographic Chronicles



Table 4—CGS Meeting Sites


Year Location Year Location


California Council of Geography Teachers (1946–1969)


1947 San Diego Hotel 1959 Long Beach Community Coll= ege

1948 UC Berkeley 1960 San Jose State

1949 Ventura Jr. College 1961 San Fernando State Co= llege

1950 Stanford University 1962 Fresno State College =

1951 UCLA 1963 San Diego State

1952 Fresno State College 1964 University of the Pa= cific

1953 San Diego State 1965 Long Beach State

1954 Chico State College 1966 Watsonville High Scho= ol

1955 Santa Monica High School 1967 Los Angeles Comm= unity College

1956 Sacramento Junior College 1968 CSC Hayward

1957 Compton College 1969 San Diego State

1958 Santa Rosa Junior College


California Council for Geographic Education (1969–1983)


1970 Del Webb’s Townhouse, Fresno 1978 Pierce College

1971 Sonoma State College 1979 CSU Fresno

1972 Pasadena Hilton 1980 Shasta College

1973 Hyatt House, San Jose 1981 Harrah’s, Lake Tahoe, NV

1974 CSC Bakersfield 1982 Bahia Hotel, San Diego

1975 CSU Chico 1983 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

1976 CSU Long Beach

1977 Independence High School,


San Jose


California Geographical Society (1983–present= )


1984 Conestega Hotel, Anaheim 1994 Cal Poly Pomona =

1985 CSU Chico 1995 CSU Fresno

1986 West Hills College, Coalinga 1996 Columbia Col= lege

1987 Clarion Hotel, Ontario 1997 Mendocino College =

1988 Pierce College 1998 CSU San Bernardino

1989 Cosumnes River College 1999 CSU Channel Island= s

1990 USC 2000 San Diego State University

1991 Porterville College 2001 Delta College, Stockt= on

1992 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 2002 Lone Pine High S= chool

1993 Shasta College 2003 American River College


bers also enjoy urban settings, such as Pomona and Sacramento. All

of these venues attract large numbers of meeting participants.


Geographers love field trips, so it is not surprisi= ng that field trips

have been a focal point of the meetings. Field trip= s at the early meetings included the hills of San Francisco (1948), an aerial fi= eld trip of

the Bay region (1950), an aerial field trip of the = San Andreas Fault

and Los Angeles (1951), the Russell Giffen Ranch we= st of Fresno

(1952), the San Diego hinterland to Julian (1953), = the Sutter Buttes

(1954), an aerial field trip of Orange and Los Ange= les counties (1955),

flood field trips in the Sacramento area (1956), Sa= nta Rosa’s apple


The California Geographer ¦ Volume 43, 2003 =



country to the coast (1958), a Long Beach Harbor bo= at tour (1959),

and the San Fernando Valley’s Anheuser-Busch Brewery (1961)

(Carthew 1965). Many of these trips have been repea= ted in succeeding years, including most recently Sutter Buttes (2003) and Long

Beach Harbor (a boat tour is planned for 2004).


Attendance at the annual meetings is difficult to t= rack. While it is

safe to assume the meeting at Del Webb’s town= house had a smaller

turnout than the 2003 Sacramento meeting at American River College (with over 400 in attendance), the archives provide no precis= e

attendance statistics. The evidence, however, sugge= sts that the 2003

meeting was among the largest ever. Other large mee= tings in recent

years include Pomona (1994) and Lone Pine (2002), w= ith approximately 250 in attendance at each. Some remember meetings from

the early 1970s, when membership was consistently h= igh, as setting attendance records.


The past decade has seen high attendance and participation at the

meetings. Some members have suggested that the 1993 meeting at

Shasta College, hosted by Carol Jean Cox, was a tur= ning point that

brought us into the “modern” era. I con= cur. Cox set a high standard

of professionalism in the quality of the meetings. = She established a

model that organizers for the past ten years have followed.




Over the years, the organization has established a = series of annual

awards that are announced at the meeting banquet. Non-student

awards include Outstanding Educator, Distinguished = Service, Distinguished Teaching, and Friend of Geography.


The Outstanding Educator Award, established in 1975= , has been

given to geography educators throughout California = (Table 5). A

majority (sixteen) of the past awardees have been f= rom four-year

institutions, while four were from community and ju= nior colleges

and five from public schools. One time, the award w= ent to the two

California Geographical Alliances, north and south.=


Numerous people have served the CGS in exemplary fa= shion. In

1970, the first Distinguished Service Award was bes= towed. The Distinguished Teaching Awards began in 1974. In 1995 the first Friend <= /p>

of Geography Award was given. Tables 6, 7, and 8 pr= ovide lists of

award winners in these three categories.


Geographic Chronicles



Table 5—CGS Outstanding Educators


Year Educator School Affiliation

2003 Gail Hobbs Pierce College

2002 Matt Ebiner El Camino College

2001 Bill Preston Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

2000 Stephanie Buttell-Maxin San Diego Unified SD <= /p>

Stephen Prendergast San Diego Unified SD

1999 Mike Murphy Clovis Unified SD

Jerry Williams CSU Chico

1998 Barbara Fredrich San Diego State University

1997 Robert Christopherson American River College <= /p>

1996 Janice Hamner San Bernardino County Schools

1995 Richard Ellefsen San Jose State

1994 Bill Bowen CSU Northridge

1993 Steve Cunha Cosumnes River College

1992 Calif. Geographical Alliance, North

Calif. Geographical Alliance, South

1991 David Lantis CSU Chico

1990 Bruce Bechtol CSU Chico

1989 Don Holtgrieve CSU Chico

1988 Tom McKnight UCLA

1987 Walter Olson Sonoma State & San Francisco = State Univ.

1986 William Thomas CSU Hayward

1985 Chet Cole CSU Fresno

1984 [unknown]

1983 Willis Park [unknown]

1982 Robt. Kiskadden Los Angeles City Schools

1981 Kit Salter UCLA

1980 [unknown]

1979 Steve Slakey La Puente High School

1978 Howard Nelson [unknown]

1977 [unknown]

1976 Richard Logan UCLA

1975 Bill Wake [unknown]


A perusal of tables 5–8 demonstrates the numb= er of individuals who

have contributed to the vitality of the CGS and its mission, including educators who have inspired generations of students and colleagues with their superior teaching. These are just a few of the

many people who have made a difference to geography= in California.


Student awards are also important to the CGS. As mentioned at the

start of this article, the CGS now distributes more= than $2,000 each

year in student scholarships and awards. Student participation is at

an all-time high, with faculty members bringing van= loads of students to each meeting. For many students, it is their first professio= nal geography meeting and their first formal research presentation in a professional setting. Student awards, all of which are monetary, include the David Lantis Student Scholarship, Tom McKnight


The California Geographer ¦ Volume 43, 2003 =



Table 6—CGS Outstanding Service Awards


Year Awardee Affiliation

2003 Carol Cox Sierra College

2002 Steve Cunha Humboldt State University

2001 Ray Sumner Long Beach City College

2000 Bill Holder Fountain Valley High School

1999 Steve Slakey La Puente High School

1998 Carolyn Whorff Mt. San Jacinto College

1997 Joe Leeper Humboldt State University

1996 Bruce Bechtol CSU Chico

1995 David Helgren San Jose State

1994 Rich Hough San Francisco State University

1993 Emmett Hayes La Puente High School

1992 Rod McKenzie University of Southern California=

1991 William Preston Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

1990 Don Floyd Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

1989 Jim Blick San Diego State University

1988 George Nasse CSU Fresno

John Carthew Los Angeles Pierce College

1987 Jim Switzer Southwest College, Chula Vista

1986 Charles Yahr San Diego State College

David Jennings Los Angeles City College

Adolf Stone Long Beach City College

1985 Tom Best CSU Los Angeles

1984 [unknown]

1983 [unknown]

1982 Don Holtgrieve CSU Hayward

Dave Hendrickson Fresno City College

1981 Art Karinen CSU Chico

Dave Hendrickson Fresno City College

1980 Rodney Steiner CSU Long Beach

1979 Andrew Kennelly CSU Hayward

1978 David Jennings Los Angeles City College

1977 Gertrude Reith CSU Fullerton

1976 David Lantis CSU Chico

Chet Cole CSU Fresno

1975 Adolf Stone Long Beach City College

1974 Haig Rushdoony CSU Stanislaus

1973 [unknown]

1972 Loren Post San Diego State College

1971 Alfred Butz Santa Rosa Jr. College

1970 Art Carthew Los Angeles City College


Student Paper Award, Joe Beaton Student Poster Awar= d, Student Map

Award, and Geosystems Award.


The David Lantis Student Scholarship is named after= the

organization’s seventh president, from CSU Ch= ico. David Lantis received the Distinguished Service Award in 1976 and was named=

Outstanding Educator in 1991. Now deceased, Lantis authored numerous articles and textbooks including a California geography textbook used by educators throughout the state. He was a strong supporter = of the CGS.


Geographic Chronicles



Table 7—CGS Distinguished Teaching Awards


Year Teacher Year Teacher

2003 Cynthia Vaughn 1981 [none awarded]

2002 [none awarded] 1980 Jerry Williams

2001 Jerrell Croskrey 1979 Frank Seawall

John Anderson Cal Wilvert

2000 [none awarded] 1978 Bruce Bechtol

1999 Cynthia Delameter Peter Farquhar

Ann Gonzalez Sin-Tong Han

Gwen Jones Bob Hoffman

Lynda Lemon Larry Lane

Gwen Newman Jones Art Karinen

1998 Diane Bruns James O’Keefe

Don Cross Clem Padick

Laurie Finucane 1976 Todd Berens

1997 Sharon Hamid Dan Epstein

Rodney Jones Constance L’Aventure

1996 Stephanie Buttell-Maxin Tso-Hwa Lee

Cheryl Connolly Don Reasons

Liz Meyer Christine Roed

Tom Nelson Jean Vance

Larry Osen 1975 David Balogh

Rosaleen Zisch Jerry Brothen

1995 Kevin Clark Charlotte Crabtree

Steven Kemper Bill D. Holder

Bill McElree Jim Huning

Ed Myles Celeste Kostanick

1994 Joe Beaton Richard Logan

Jeff Cenoz Chuck Martinson

Carol Jean Cox Crane Miller

1993 Carol Douglas Marilyn Millington

Bonnie Emerson Dennis Napier

Donald Floyd Art Nichols

Tom O’Brien Richard Reed

Terry Williams Lester Rowntree

1992 Robert Christopherson Steve Slakey

Janice Jersbek Lawrence Stevens

Carol Light 1974 William Adam

Marilyn Renger Ken Crump

Robert Williams Richard Dastyck

1991 Joan Clemons Don Forth

Pamela Gilgert Carol Hatcher

Sherri Grazda David Hedgecock

Emmett Hayes Donn Jewell

Mary Miller Richard Mackinnon

Edy Nielson Marion Menzel

Richard Raskoff Ellen Murphy (Oicles)

1988 James Claflin Arthur Nichols

Susan Hardwick David Prewetkt

Steve Herman Marianne Reese

William Preston Stephen Slakey

1982 Patricia Chapla Claire Walter

Jim Scofield


The California Geographer ¦ Volume 43, 2003 =



Table 8—CGS Friend of Geography Awards


Year Awardee


2003 [none awarded]

2002 [none awarded]

2001 Joan Clemons, UCLA

2000 Yumiko Tsuneyoshi, San Diego State University =

1999 [none awarded]

1998 Jack Dangermond, Environmental Systems Research Institute

1997 Joseph Beaton, Cal Poly Pomona

1996 Beth Cantrell, Thomas Brothers Maps Educational Foundation

1995 Frank Baughman, DDS, Porterville


Special Awards


1994 Huell Howser, KCET Television

1975 Carl Nelson, Denoyer-Geppert Co.


The Tom McKnight Student Paper Award honors another longtime supporter of the CGS and its mission. Tom McKnight, from

UCLA, was named Outstanding Educator in 1988 and continues to

be an active participant today. His consummate professional style

and inquisitive nature have earned him the respect = of generations

of students, whom he has engaged with his dynamic lectures. A

prolific author of textbooks on North American and introductory

geography, McKnight has received awards from both Australian and

Canadian geography organizations for his contributi= ons to the field.


The Joe Beaton Student Poster Award carries the nam= e of the late

Joe Beaton, who received the Distinguished Teaching= Award in 1994

and a Friend of Geography Award in 1997. Beaton, who taught at

the California State Polytechnic Institute at Pomon= a, worked hard

to stimulate students to observe and participate in= the world. Never

known for timidity, he taught with a bravado and en= ergy that inspired students and colleagues alike.


The Geosystems Award became the first endowed award= in the

organization’s history. This was made possibl= e in 2002 by Robert

and Bobbé Christopherson. Bobbé and Robert’s Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography is a leadi= ng textbook in physical

geography. Their dedication to furthering our knowl= edge of the

environment is reflected in their enthusiastic supp= ort of students.

Robert Christopherson, from American River College, received the

Outstanding Educator Award in 1997 and was keynote speaker in

the Presidential Plenary at the 2002 meeting.


Geographic Chronicles



Future Directions


The CGS is an outstanding organization and has prov= ided me opportunities for a great deal of professional growth. While it is flourishing today, I see a few areas in which the organization needs to

more aggressively pursue its full potential.


The status of the discipline is continually being challenged in state

and institutional arenas. The CGS could take a lead= in positioning

itself in state curriculum committees and arguing i= ts case before the

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCT= C). The educational institutions in our state regularly review curriculum, and = it

is important that geographers have a voice on curri= culum and general education committees.


CGS should also take an active role in ensuring that departments

are well poised to fight the inevitable curriculum battles and maintain geography’s presence in the curriculum at all levels. We need

representatives on committees reviewing K–12 standards, establishing curriculum for future teachers, and defining general education

requirements. We need to convince the CCTC that geo= graphy should

be identified in the earth sciences curriculum. Its members need to

hear from this organization and understand that geographers must

be present on the History and Social Sciences review committees.

We have to speak in order to be heard, and I don= 217;t think we’ve been

voicing our concerns in an organized effort to effe= ct change.


In previous times, geographers were more politicall= y astute and active in ensuring that the relevance of geography was known to decision makers. The 1999 CGS meeting at CSU Channel Islands was

the first academic conference held at the not-yet-o= pened campus

(Alvarez 1999). Meeting organizer Linda O’Hirok’s intent was to

make administrators aware that they needed geograph= y in the curriculum. Following the meetings, however, the CGS made little effort= to stay in the minds of key administrators and faculty. We could

have written letters and scheduled a meeting with t= he Provost. The

same should be done with the developing UC Merced c= ampus.


The CGS should continue to work with the California Geographic

Alliance. We should be offering the expertise for pre-service and in-

service training of K–12 teachers. At our sta= tewide meetings, the

field trips are extremely popular. I propose we beg= in organizing field

trips at other times during the year that are aimed= at K–12 educators. We could organize in time frames that make sense for = the teach-


The California Geographer ¦ Volume 43, 2003 =



ers, who often cannot attend our meetings because t= hey must get

released from classroom duties. The CGS could spons= or these field

trips for teachers at lower costs.


I would also like to see improvement in the quality= and quantity of

manuscripts submitted to our professional journal, = The California

Geographer. While the CG is on-track with its sched= ule and operating in a professional manner, I see even greater potential. An increased competitive status is an attainable and necessary goal.


The CGS is a healthy organization at present, but i= t is at risk. Currently, half of the board members are community college faculty=

members. A healthy CGS needs more balance in its bo= ard membership. While in recent years community college faculty members

have increased their involvement, university and co= llege faculty

and K–12 educators have diminished their participation and are

now underrepresented. (At other times in the organization’s history, university faculty members dominated.) We need more university faculty involvement in paper presentations and service on <= /p>

the board. We need to find better ways to connect w= ith the K–12

educators and help in their efforts to enhance geog= raphy education

in their classrooms.


It is also time to start thinking of new ways to ra= ise awareness of

geography among the general public. Perhaps the CGS= could install

“geographical markers” similar to the “historical markers” we see

along the roadside. I would love to see a sign read= ing: “Geographic

Point of Interest, 200 Yards Ahead.” Just as = our founders did nearly

sixty years ago in the aftermath of World War II, we should take

advantage of the situation we find ourselves facing. Issues surrounding globalization, global conflicts, and advancing technolog= ies are

what geography is all about. We certainly have a ro= le to play and

we should position ourselves to do so.


We need to widen our sights and enlarge our sphere = of influence

beyond preaching to the choir. We are poised with financial resources, professional integrity, strong leadership, and an energetic

membership. The time is right for us to seize this opportunity and

take advantage of our circumstances. As the organiz= ation is financially sound, I also believe it’s time to begin taking small risks by

subsidizing meetings that might open up new opportu= nities in different venues; for example, Yosemite, Catalina Island, or San Francis= co.


Geographic Chronicles



I challenge future CGS leaders to set their goals h= igh, because this is

an organization that usually attains its goals. The organization’s

past leadership is positioned to influence some of = these changes.

The present leadership and the newcomers are energe= tic visionaries

for the future. I fully believe we can improve this already great organization.




I would like to thank the following individuals for= their insights

into the CGS, past and present: the late Joe Beaton, Bruce Bechtol,

John Carthew, Joan Clemons, Carol Jean Cox, Steve C= unha, Richard Ellefson, Susan Hardwick, Dave Helgren, Don Holtgrieve, the

late Dave Lantis, Joe Leeper, Tom McKnight, George = Nasse, Clem

Padick, and Steve Slakey.




Alvarez, Fred. 1999. CSU site to host its first aca= demic symposium. Los Angeles Times, April 30, B4.

Bruman, H. J. 1946. Letter to California geography educators.

CGS Archives, December.


Carthew, Arthur. 1965. A brief history of the Calif= ornia Council of

Geography Teachers, 1946–1964. The California Geographer 6:



Frazer, William J. 1980. The California Geographer:= The first 20

years. The California Geographer 20: 1–6.


The California Geographer ¦ Volume 43, 2003 =