June 2, 2009

Dear Colleagues:
I am saddened to share with you the news that Professor Reginald Golledge passed away on May 29, at home with his family. Reg was a highly respected and beloved colleague in our Department of Geography for more than three decades. He was a leader on our campus and a giant in his field.
This year Professor Golledge was named our 2009 Faculty Research Lecturer. This is the highest honor bestowed on our faculty by their peers, and a testament to the high esteem in which Reg was held by all of his colleagues. His students also looked up to him as a mentor and role model; in 2005-06, our Academic Senate presented him with an Outstanding Graduate Mentor award. Professor Golledge’s dedication to our campus was an inspiration. He and his wife endowed an annual Reginald G. and Allison L. Golledge Distinguished Lecture in Geography; this year’s lecture was held just two weeks ago.
Reg pioneered a behavioral approach to human geography to study how humans find their way in the world. He expanded the frontiers of research in cognitive behavioral geography, transportation modeling, and geography and disability. He received numerous honors for his achievements and contributions, including the International Geographers Gold Medal from the Institute of Australian Geographers, Academic Honors and Lifetime Achievement Honors from the Association of American Geographers, and the Grosvenor Medal for Geographic Education. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a former Guggenheim Fellow, and a past president of the Association of American Geographers.
Reg first joined our faculty in Geography in 1977, and served as department chair from 1980 to 1984. After losing his sight due to a degenerative disease of the optic nerve in 1984, his research took a new direction toward dissecting spatial cognition. As the director of our campus’s Research Unit on Spatial Cognition and Choice, he explored the ways in which we store a mental model of the world in our minds, and how this affects our processing of spatial information and our understanding of the world around us. Professor Golledge not only made important contributions to this academic area of research, but through his unique insights and discoveries, he also had a tremendous impact in helping to improve the lives of blind and visually impaired people around the world.
In a recent interview with Nature magazine, Professor Golledge was asked whether he had a life motto. His response was, “You don’t have to have sight to have vision.” Indeed, Reg saw further than most of us, and his vision will continue to be an inspiration to us all.
Our hearts go out to Professor Golledge’s wife, Allison, and all of their family, colleagues, and many friends. Reg was a very special person, and he made this world a better place. We will remember him always. In his honor, our campus flag is lowered to half-staff today. A celebration of Reg’s life will be held at our Faculty Club this Saturday, June 6, from 1 to 3 p.m., and all are welcome to attend. Our Department of Geography will also be hosting a special colloquium in honor of Professor Golledge in the fall.


Henry T. Yang