The department recently lost a beloved Professor Emeritus, Jerry Williams, in December 2022. Prof. Williams was a geographer’s geographer, with wide-ranging interests that enabled him to see holistically the physical, social, ecological, and cultural processes that make places distinctive.
His book New Mexico in Maps, first published in 1981 by the UNM Press, has been used widely in teaching and research. The dozens of maps in the book reflected the diverse geographic influences and perspectives that Prof. Williams brought to his research and teaching. His New Mexico Homestead Geography research project remains a treasure trove for anyone interested in the state’s past— Prof. Williams collected unique oral histories and other historic materials that are freely available through the UNM Digital Repository. As a teacher, Prof. Williams started his career in Zambia, and served UNM students for 30 years. His classes were popular among across campus, particularly the Southwest Institute field-study program he directed for two decades. Prof. Williams’ influence is evident in the success of his students, and the department mourns his passing.