Professor Bob Douglas to Retire After 39 Years of Teaching Gustavus Geography

Posted on May 18th, 2012 by

Dr. Bob Douglas, Professor of Geography, was honored Wednesday for his many years of service to the Geography Department and Gustavus Adolphus College. Professor Emeritus Milt Brostrom (’49) gave the following tribute.



And Bob Douglas still has his bearing–he’s a Hoosier, thru and thru.

Bob grew up in the small town of San Pierre, Indiana.  HOW SMALL WAS IT?  He writes in his waterfalls book that when he left, “the population declined by 20 percent.” And I think it is absolutely remarkable that in 1973 he ended up in what our beloved Gustie theater legend, Evelyn Anderson, always referred to as “my village of San Pierre, MN.”

Bob channels Kenny Rogers to sing "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em" at his retirement dinner.

He attended Valparaiso University as an undergraduate, having to take a remedial English course at 7 in the morning to gain entrance. One rainy morning, while walking to the early class, a car stopped to give him a ride; it was O. P. Kretzman, the University President for 28 years. Some of you oldtimers will remember him as the editor of the CRESSET, which used to appear in our mailboxes each month on campus. Kretzman encouraged him, ” Going to Grammar Zero, young man? Stick with it–you’ll do all right.”

Then on to Indiana Univ. for his master’s and also meeting up with a chem. major named Judy along the way.

Finally, he crossed the state line to Ann Arbor for his doctorate and his initial experience with The Flood Plain Four of the Michigan geography department.

In 1973 he arrived at Gustavus, joining Bob Moline and Chet in the basement of Nobel Hall, where he remains today. But for many a year, the geography department, just like the red, red, robin, went a-Bob-Bobin along.

In his waterfalls book Bob characterizes the life of the Minnesota River Valley in three stages–Youth, Maturity, and Old Age. Bob, in your life similarly, there are the three stages–Youth as a Hoosier, Maturity as a Gustie, and Old Age yet to come after Retirement.

We are so thankful for your many contributions to our lives, Bob. I especially in a personal way am grateful for:

YES, NIKKI, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS! That’s me, speaking to my granddaughter as I hustled her down to Arrow Ace Hardware during the Christmas season.

Judy and yourself carrying on Vic’s legacy in Valley View.

Keeping the Flood Plain Four Plus More alive.

Presenting us with the Borgeson Cabin in the Arb.

Last, but not least, introducing us to the waterfalls of southern Minnesota.

Thanks, Bob, for 39 years of Gustie service!!


One Comment

  1. Mark Bjeland says:

    Great tribute.