In memoriam of Jay R. Harman, Professor Emeritus of Geography

Professor Emeritus Jay R. Harman

Jay’s academic life had a fascinating arc.  In the early phases of his career his research and teaching interests were in physical geography, with concentrations in plant geography (mostly of the eastern United States) and synoptic climatology, often in some combination.  He published much of his work in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, which is our flagship journal.  During the latter portion of his career, however, Jay became increasingly interested in philosophical matters, especially epistemology and ethics/morals, particularly as they interfaced with his Department specialization in the physical environment.  Given these new interests, he began writing about environmental ethics in scholarly journals and developed a new class on the topic (GEO 432) in the 1990s.  He taught that class frequently thereafter to very extremely good reviews. 

Anyone who knew Jay remembers him as a very thoughtful fellow who loved a good conversation.  He was a great mentor to faculty and students alike and was happy to talk about anything, including politics, bee keeping, alternative energy, class, general philosophy, raising his daughters, matters in the Department, and, of course, the daily weather and medium-range forecast.  He loved the Smoky Mountains and led a bi-annual field trip there until very recently.  Everyone who went on that trip was touched by the grandeur of the place and Jay’s deep affection for it. True to form, Jay was considering giving that trip one more go this spring.

Smoky mountains field trip, 2006

A memorial will be held to celebrate Jay’s life on Sunday, November 23 from 2 to 5 pm at Coral Gables.  Jay’s family has requested that donations be made to your local PBS/NPR station.  If you desire to make a donation in Jay’s honor within the Department, it can go to the undergraduate fund that was established in 2006 in his name.  Such gifts should be made payable to “Michigan State University” and sent to:

Jay Harman Undergraduate Fund
c/o GEO
Geography Building
673 Auditorium Road, Room 116
East Lansing, MI 48823

Feel free to share your thoughts about him in the comment box below.

You are not Alone

47 thoughts on “In memoriam of Jay R. Harman, Professor Emeritus of Geography

  1. My remarks are late because I only learned of Jay’s passing today (Dec. 15) from a fellow geographer from the early days. I met Jay in early 1968 as a graduate student when he was interviewing for the MSU position. The hiring ritual in those times was for the candidate to present a symposium on his/her academic or dissertation work to the faculty and graduate students of that time. After he completed his presentation he asked for questions–a prolonged, awkward silence followed. I liked him instantly and would not let the encounter end that way. I had just enough climatology in undergrad school to drum up a tangential question to his work. Of course he pounced on it with all the viewpoints possible from such an inquiry and displayed the wide spectrum of his skill sets. That opened the gates and not long afterwards he was hired to everyone’s appreciation over the years as I read the remarks from this site. I could go on and on about our time together as many would like to do. We became friends after that and went on fishing trips and all you can eat shrimp nights at a favorite northern Michigan restaurant. After I transitioned into public service away from the discipline (but still in renewable energy) we moved on. Now I am so pleased to read about his lifelong qualities I witnessed in 1968 repeated again and again. Sorry to have missed any story telling time that may have occurred at Coral Gables.

  2. As an new PhD student in geography coming from a different discipline, I was required to take a few remedial courses including regional geography. My first thought was: bummer; why should I take an undergraduate course when I should be learning more advanced stuff? Dr. Harman was my instructor and I loved the course and learned so much from him. Later, I also took Research Design and his famous Ethics course. We talked quite often outside the classroom about a variety of issues such as life/death, social norms, humanism; I admired his ideas and ideals, his life experience, and how he framed the ‘big picture.’ But above all, I admired that his concerns for the well-being of others was accompanied by actions.

  3. I knew Jay Harman for over 30 years. He was a delightful friend and colleague in all respects. He served on the guidance committees of many of my graduate students. His love of the natural world, and the role of humans therein, showed through in his research and teaching. His many field trips to the Smokies were among the most popular educational opportunities offered at MSU. Jay’s kind and sensitive disposition were clearly displayed in the frequent letters he published in the Lansing State Journal. They were always to-the-point, always well considered, and always forceful in the way they were framed. But never disrespectful. Jay Harman was a great asset to the University and to the larger community as well. He will be sorely missed.

  4. Dr. Harman taught me one of the most important life lessons – that we have to make time for the most important things in our life, and that truly important things get the time we give them. Meaning, in essence, that we must take care to dedicate our time appropriately, something Dr. Harman was much better at than me.

    From Dr. Harman I also learned an appreciation for biogeography and the influence of climate, areas which are not my speciality. The effort that Dr. Harman made to help me (and others) understand the most salient aspects of these topics was an educational experience in so many ways: I learned about more advanced physical geography, but also how powerful it can be when an expert takes the time to help a student understand.

    If I can achieve 30% of the pedagogical success of Jay Harman in my career, I would count my efforts a success.

  5. As a student, I did not have a chance to take a course from Dr. Harman but we always interacted in a respectable manner. My colleagues in his classes had good things to say. Rest in peace Dr. Harman.

    Gichana (Ph.D., 2000).
    Radford VA.

  6. On my first trip to the Smokey Mountains with Jay, now many years ago, I still remember watching him as he led our group of students into a Cove forest. He entered that stand with a palpable sense of reverence, awe and joy. Later that trip, he recounted with much amusement an encounter with the eminent E. Lucy Braun in the Smokey’s. She agreed to pose next to an enormous tulip poplar and as the picture was being taken chided the photographer to remember which was the arcto-tertiary relict. These were two quintessential qualities of Jay that truly changed my life–a deep and undiminished love and respect for the natural world, combined with a warm and rich sense of humor. I also recall countless noon-hour runs, during which we would discuss everything from running injuries to planetary waves–and always with a careful thoughtfulness. My heart goes out to Teresa and their daughters, and as I struggle to accept the fact that he is gone, I recognize in my own life and in the shared remembrances of others, that Jay profoundly touched the lives of so many. In that sense I take comfort knowing that he is still very much with us.

  7. I am so sorry I missed the memorial gathering you all had last week but, with you all, I have been swimming in thoughts of a Jay as a very special mentor and a friend. From that very first day when I met him in my office– I was challenged by Jay Harman. His first question to me was what I could tell him about the adiabatic lapse rate, a topic I still shake over before my lecture on it in physical geography. From there we had a collaborative time together, flattening out the accordion upper air charts, talking about trees and forests, and him teaching me how to write. He is so much a part of my career, through over 20 camping trips to the Smokies with my own students, to those very tough questions I try to ask about plant distributions, to all my comments now online as I ‘work’ over student essays, papers, manuscripts, theses, and even this note. Thanks Jay Harman— and many blessings to Teresa and your family.

  8. Rest in Peace, Dr. Harman. I have been his “support person” on the staff in Geography for the past seven years, and I often felt more supported by him than I ever could have been to him. He was a kind and thoughtful man, and I will miss him a lot. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and former students.

  9. The last conversation I had with Jay was the day prior to his untimely stroke, and was typical of the interactions we had in my role of undergrad advisor in the department. Despite his long experience, he would periodically come to ask my opinion–typical in itself of Jay–about a particular situation regarding this or that student. He had been inclined to not intervene in some cases of students’ difficulties, operating on the idea that they were adults (albeit young ones) and he did not want to be, in his words, some kind of “helicopter professor.” Knowing that I had spent over twenty years teaching at the high school level, we had conversed several times about some of the changing characteristics of eighteen-to-twenty-one-year-olds, the world in which they had grown up, and as a result, where he might find the proper balance of leaving students to sort things out on their own and taking a little more active a role. He asked me to stop by his office if I had a minute. I walked down the hall and said hello.
    Did I happen to know such-and-such a student?
    No, I did not.
    Well, it seems he’s having some real struggles in 432, and I was trying to see if I could find out if something was going on with him that I should know. He’s not a Geography major…I wonder who his major advisor is…
    That’s no problem for me to find out. Give me a few minutes.
    Thank you. That would be great. I just want his advisor to know, and see if there’s any insight that person can give me…
    I did some minimal digging and passed along the information he wanted, and he stopped by later to say thanks. I am happy that the last memory I have of interacting with Jay has to do with his concern for doing what was best.
    And like others, I sometimes see sentences that people have written and in my mind say, “Jay would hate that.”

  10. Like so many others who have commented here, and in the memorial yesterday at Coral Gables, I am proud to have known Jay Harman. I vividly remember that he was the first person to ask a question following my job talk. Although I felt good about the talk, I was nervous about the subsequent Q&A because I wanted to show I could think on my feet. So the Q&A begins in a packed room and I see a hand (index finger pointing up) slowly rise in the far right back corner of the room. I don’t remember what the question was, other than it was some kind of angle that I had never considered before. What a way to begin! That was my introduction to Jay Harman.

    Looking back, I now realize that Jay was a benchmark for me. I thought of him as the consummate academician, someone who thought seriously about things, talked about them in a measured way, had the respect of his students, and walked the walk. Reflecting on our friendship, I now realize that I came to believe I truly belonged through my many conversations with Jay during the formative period of my career. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it meant a lot when I knew that he accepted me as a equal, or in this case, “near equal”. If I was good enough to hang with Jay Harman, I must be doing something right.

    I’ll miss Jay Harman.

  11. I am privileged to have benefited from Jay’s friendship, sage tutelage, and mentorship. He is one of the few people I’ve ever met who truly walked the walk – practicing what he preached with respect to environmental consciousness and responsibility, He also had the rare ability to effectively communicate his comprehensive understanding of the atmosphere. Much of what I understand about synoptic climatology and atmospheric dynamics came from him. When he learned I had not had the opportunity to take those courses formally, he insisted on doing an independent study course with me. He patiently revisited complex topics until I got them, and I gained a level of knowledge of atmospheric behavior I never would have otherwise obtained.

    I liked and respected Jay, and will miss him greatly. I will always remember his benign smile. No matter what was going on, he always appeared at ease, like he had a firm grasp of the bigger picture – no doubt he did. So, (nod to Seuss), I won’t cry because he’s gone. I will smile (benignly) because he existed and made a difference.

  12. Jay Harman taught me how to become a better writer and more critical thinker. I loved stopping by his office to chat, and remember that he would always ask “so, what have you been reading?” I will never forget what Dr. Harman did one day in the old computer lab in Natural Science. He walked over to a desk where someone had used several bound MSU geography dissertations to prop up a monitor and returned them to the shelves where they belonged. The expression on his face said to all who watched “this is not how we show respect for the intellectual product of our department.” My condolences to all his loved ones.

  13. Jay was a great colleague and a good friend. I will always cherish the many stimulating conversations we had about weather, climate, and renewable energy, as well as stories we shared about our daughters who are in the same grade and have similar interests. I will sure miss him.

  14. When I heard the sad news about Dr. Harman, I recalled how impressed I was hearing of a highly esteemed academic and teacher who also rode a bicycle on farm roads in all seasons to get to campus. Dr. Harman was one of those professors who immediately became a mentor and a friend. When I heard his moving story on how he built his family and the beautiful land and home that he lived on, I realized that he lived an exemplary life. And I speak for everyone who knew him in saying that he has left us too soon.

  15. Wow, an unfortunate loss to us all! A wonderful life to celebrate and remember. I first met Dr Harman in the Spring or Fall of 1971. In the following three years I took several of Dr harman’s classes, including Physical Geography, Biogeography, Climatology, and at least three field trips. Between-quarter field trips to the Smokies, the Gulf Coast, and the Ozarks were especially beneficial. I was honored when Dr Harman agreed to be my advisor for my Masters. His teaching style clearly and concisely presenting ideas is a major gift I cherish.

    I thank Dr Harman for helping me develope an interest in all aspects environmental. Thanks for encouraging me to establish a home in the beautiful mountains of SW Virginia. And thank you for helping me decide to make teaching Earth Science my career. I feel a great loss. I have many wonderful memories of Dr Harman’s classes, field trips and advice I will continue to move his great humanity and interest in the natural world forward.

    Tom Morris
    Pilot, VA
    BS Geography 72
    MA Geography 74

  16. As a freshman, I walked into my first college-level geography class (Weather and Climate) and I was introduced to Jay and his version of the world. Little did I realize that my first geography course would be taught by the finest professor I would ever encounter. While others can address his numerous contributions to the department and the discipline, I choose to emphasize the tremendous respect he gave to his students and his subject matter. Each time I walked into his 4th floor office I would be exposed to a level of sincerity and intellectual depth that I have experienced with no one else. He is the reason I became a geographer (and I chided him about that every time I saw him) and I am proud to be one of his many former students. I will think of him every time I see Liriodendron tulipifera.

  17. I could write a book about Jay Harman. My relationship with him could have easily been one of mere acquaintance. I arrived at MSU in 2001 as a shy and quiet M.A. student and my course schedule did not coincide with the courses he was teaching. Yet, he initiated the effort to reach out to me on a few occasions and we quickly clicked. I think we both felt like we were kindred spirits – he probably saw a younger version of himself in me and I saw a future version of myself in him. I was able to squeeze in his Environmental Ethics (GEO 432) course during the final semester of my M.A. program. The course has since shaped my life in more ways than I could have ever anticipated. In the years following I made time to sit through GEO 432 a second semester, just because. Jay and I then began a ritual of book reading and discussion that would take place on Friday afternoons. It started as an Advanced Reading in Geography (GEO 890) course, but we continued the practice for years. We read and discussed books on philosophy primarily, but discussion would always turn toward family, politics, letters to editors we were writing, weather, research, the Smokies, and beekeeping, amongst so many other things.

    I am fortunate to have been a part of Jay’s last four field trips to the Smokies (2005, 2006, 2008, and 2010) in the role of student and assistant. I’m at the far right in the above photo that was taken in front of what Jay called the “whole ball of wax.” Spruce-fir forests, cove hardwood forests, concavities, and convexities…it was all there. The first trip was life changing and I went on to develop a dissertation topic focused on the region. After some convincing on my part I was able to pull him back into the world of synoptic climatology for one more round and I became his final Ph.D. advisee. Our Friday afternoon meetings soon turned from book discussion to dissertation discussion, followed by the same digression toward other topics. During those discussions I remember the first mention that he was working on a new manuscript. We chatted about many of the manuscript’s topics throughout those years and I eagerly awaited the final product. I defended and submitted my dissertation just before his Emeritus status became official in July 2009. During those final years of my Ph.D. program also I had the chance to lead his online version of Geography of U.S. and Canada (GEO 330V) twice, which helped me shape the lecture version of the course I’ve since taught. Jay’s manuscript finally saw its final form as a book, Collateral Damage, which was released in 2014. Jay asked my wife, Kerry, to design the book’s front cover. Kerry previously taught his younger daughter, Rachel, middle school art at Williamston Schools.

    After a post-doc position at MSU, I have been teaching at CMU since 2011. I relied on Jay’s other book, Synoptic Climatology of the Westerlies, heavily as I taught Synoptic Meteorology for the first time last year. Jay and I remained in contact and email was in a near constant stream. I visited him on campus occasionally and I made an effort to visit him at his homestead once or twice a year. I’d buy honey and he would proudly show me the latest energy-saving projects he was working on. One favorite memory was assisting him with beekeeping maintenance one afternoon. First and foremost we did these things simply because we wanted to know how the other was doing. I last saw Jay just a few weeks ago. My final email from him was dated November 15, just two days before his stroke. Like old times we chatted about the possibility of yet another Smokies trip in Spring 2015 and we added to our ongoing discussion about the meridional flow patterns that resulted in our abnormally cool temperatures during the 2013-14 winter and the recent reemergence of the flow pattern in Fall 2014. I will deeply miss our conversations.

    Like each of us, I’m sure Jay wasn’t perfect, but honestly I have never known someone more centered than he was. He was soft-spoken, but he led by example. He absolutely adored his wife Theresa and was so incredibly proud of his girls Sara and Rachel. Relationships were his first priority, but he also made time for his many contributions to society, his dedication to teaching duties, his students, travel, and his numerous hobbies.

    Jay, I am so grateful to have known you as such a close friend. Thank you for the countless life lessons you taught me. Your legacy lives on in so many of us.

  18. Jay Harman is a model scholar. Probably more noteworthy, he is a model colleague and model citizen.

    I will remember him as a geographical scientist in climatology and plant geography, who later in his career also added environmental ethics to his scholarly agenda. This is indicative of having the wisdom and courage to grow from a content-knowledge expert to a scholar who explicitly integrated his specialized expertise with philosophical thought and reflection.

    The addition of ethical priority to his environmental repertoire enabled him to empower his students to be more holistic in the evolution of their own scholarly pursuits. Thereby he contributed to the strengthening of civil society through his students, as well as demonstrating socially-responsible science to his university peers and his neighbors and community.

    His wider societal impact was demonstrated by his 2014 book, Collateral Damage: The Imperiled Status of Truth in American Public Discourse and Why it Matters to You. The core contribution of this volume is to empower its readers with the criticality of informed public decision making and to motivate such practice, with the result being elevated civic behavior.

    Even after retirement he published his reflections and he was teaching right up to the end of life. Finally, I also remember Jay Harman as an excellent example of a colleague who was motivated and committed to remain an active citizen scholar throughout his career and life. What better model could one have to inspire us?

  19. I took a climatology class from Jay in the early 1970’s, and he took me to the Smoky’s and on another field trip to the Ozark’s and then to the panhandle of Florida. These experiences totally changed my life, and I can’t possibly thank him enough for turning me on to nature and especially to plant geography. I was a pretty mixed up kid at the time, and it was with Jay that I found a direction. To this day I’m still puzzling over the simple (but really hard!) questions that he asked, and I’ve even taken my own students back to the Smoky’s on several occasions for inspiration. As my career developed, Jay was always in touch, providing real friendship and solid advice on every front. He has meant so much to me for so long, and it’s just so hard to believe that he’s gone. He lived a wonderful, always deeply thoughtful life, and touched so many people. My heart goes out to Teresa and the kids, and to everyone suffering with his sudden loss. In the end, we can all count ourselves lucky to have known this truly great human being.

  20. When I took Research Design (886), Dr. Harman asked us to confront the following questions: “What does your research mean?… and why does it matter?”. I have never stopped asking myself those exact same questions! Dr. Harman inspired me to not only be a better scientist, but also a more socially responsible human being. I feel so very fortunate that I had the opportunity to know him.

  21. Jay taught me that a field trip can permanently change the lives of students. I remember his lectures describing the influence of soil chemistry on plant communities. His style of teaching from the perspective of a whole system made so much sense to me. I saw Jay in the department about a month ago. It had been about 10 years since I had seen him, and he remembered specific details about my whole family! An amazing example of a teacher who cared for the whole person of his students.

  22. I was so shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Dr. Harman this week. I have so many fond memories of Jay. I’m sure the following can conjure up some thoughts or images: Black Locust, Tuliptree, semicolons, Smoky Mountains, PVA, ripping maps off the printer and hanging them on the peg board, the spider web on the door, just to name a few.

    Outside of my immediate family, Jay was the most influential mentor in my life. I learned so much from this man, not just from his engaging courses, but primarily during our countless hours of stimulating and thought provoking dialogue in his office. He taught so much to others through his varied interests, curiosities, and hobbies. Twenty years later, I find myself sharing many of these same thoughts and ideas with my own children. Dr. Harman also taught me how to write properly. However, most importantly, Jay helped me to mold a value system that still guides my life and affects those around me. I believe his deep-thinking, reflective nature, particularly in the areas of ethics and spirituality, were his true gift among the many he shared. Thank you Jay Harman for making the world a better place and rest in peace my friend!

  23. Jay had a profound and lasting influence on my early development as a scientist, scholar, and writer. His generous sharing of time, patience, and clear thinking helped me improve and grow in countless ways. Jay’s contributions to climatological science are legendary, and when combined with his mentorship of numerous students, amount to a wonderfully rich and lasting legacy. Rest now Jay, and thanks for all you shared with me. I will remember and treasure it always. I offer my deepest condolences to his family, and to all his other former students and friends.

  24. I will miss Jay. I was inspired by his love of trees and plant geography. I am grateful for having gone on one of his field trips to the Great Smoky Mountains. I learned a lot from him on this trip and enjoyed getting to know Jay outside of the department. My condolences to his wife Theresa and their girls.

  25. So nice to see how much impact he had on people’s lives. He was my Uncle, and a cool one at that. My love of storms and nature came from him. I cherish those memories of vacations and after Thanksgiving meal walks we did. I love that he’s touched so many and hope he is never forgotten.

  26. I will always remember the trip to Smoky Mountains with Dr. Harmon. It was such a wonderful experience. i cherish the many conversations we shared. He was a true gentle man and a scholar.

  27. Jay was a tremendous colleague and a good friend. We spoke often. Jay had a rare combination of intellect and compassion. I know of no one who cared more for the long-term well being of society than Jay. He always had the best interests of the environment (and its inhabitants) in mind. From his passion about alternative energy (he drive a Volt, which he charged up form his wind turbine), to his bees, to the fruit he grew, to the wood he grew and burned to heat his home, he was as “green” a person as I have ever known. Here in GEO we will miss Jay, and the world will be a lesser place for his absence. He was a true academic that cared and did make a difference. Rest in peace, my friend.

  28. I will miss Jay as a fellow faculty member who could engage in conversation on topics and issues and disagree sometimes without being disagreeable. That was the kind of person Jay was. I appreciated that.

  29. I think of Dr. Harman almost every day as I look at the jet stream flow on the Weather Channel. What an example of an influential and well lived life.

  30. Jay was a scholar and a gentleman. He had a trenchant sense of humor (memories of Doonesbury and Larson cartoons on his office walls) and a love for the earth that was apparent in his hobbies as well as his work (his honey is missed). It was a privilege to work with him for over 20 years.

  31. I would not be where I am today, professionally, without Jay Harman. The first geography course I took was GEO330. While many students struggled with the material and exams, the landscape of the United States was made clear to me as I listened and learned from him. He made land use and patterns seem so obvious, and I excelled under his teaching. It was then, during that semester, that I became a geography major. I went on to take two more classes with him and will never forget many of the things he taught me more than a decade ago. Some of my favorites include,
    1. Do not start a sentence with “This” (I think of him every time I do 🙂
    2. Do no use “however” in the middle of a sentence without a semicolon
    3. Cows don’t mind walking up hills (when explaining the patterns of agriculture in the Mid-Atlantic)
    4. When I check the temperature on my weather channel app, I always think about how it might vary depending on the location of the temperature gauge on the landscape
    5. Always consider what your research means for people. Does it matter?

    As I was writing that list, I realized I could have gone on and on and to this day I discuss things that I learned from Jay.This (!) is a testament to the impact he had on my life and I am certain the lives of so many others. He will be missed.

  32. It was a great pleasure and privilege to meet Dr. Harman. I took a class from him that focused on writing. Every week, we had to submit a writing sample and discuss the one he had just graded. I found Dr. Harman to be a great thinker, his questions penetrating, and his teaching style engaging. I had loved reading and ‘riting before, but being in his class brought the two activities to a new level. I always remember him when I am revising a manuscript. I send my prayers to his family and the department for this great loss. I am sure he will be missed.

  33. When I first met Jay, in his office during my pre-enrollment visit to the department, Jay walked over to his book case and pulled out a dusty thick volume, the magnus opus of beekeeping: The Hive and the Honey Bee. Inside, in Chapter 11, was his name on the author line, on a chapter on pollination and bee forage regions in North America. “Pete, this is the publication that I am most proud of in my life,” he claimed…

    Jay helped me harvest my first honey harvest in Michigan the next fall, and took care of my hives when I was out doing field research. The bees, and the weather they live in, were too of Jay’s great loves, and always a topic of discussion in Jay’s office. Take care, Dr. Harman.

  34. Jay introduced me to Geography from 1970-1972. I took three of his courses and a lot of what I know and appreciate about the natural world started with and still comes from these classes. Fast forward to 2010. My son Jeremy McWhorter completed his masters degree in Geography at MSU. And much to my great surprise and honor, Jay remembered his 22 year old student from 1972 and connected the dots with my son 40 years later!!!! What a memory!!!!! Jay was very nice to my son while was at MSU. I was fortunate enough to meet up with Jay at a local watering hole in Williamston a coup of years back. It was so much fun to see him after all of those years and to hear about his family and the direction that his studies and career had gone. What a great Geographer!!! What a great man!! Tom McWhorter, Traverse City

  35. Jay Harmon was a rare combination of scientist and philosopher, a deep and careful thinker. My conversations with him were always memorable. Jay liked to say that he’d been around “since the Precambrian”, and I assumed he’d make it to the Postanthropocene. I miss him.

  36. RIP Jay Harman. I owe a great deal of gratitude to Dr. Harman. My father who inspired me to become a geographer took his first geo course, Intro to Climatology from Jay in the early 70s, inspiring him to take appreciation of the discipline. 40 years later, Dr. Harman prepped me as TA for his course, Geography of the US and Canada. Dr Harman would randomly email me time and time after finishing from MSU, just to see how I was doing. He also lived in my hometown of Williamston, Michigan. It comes with great sadness to hear of his passing. My prayers and condolences to his friends and family. Jay will be missed deeply..

  37. Jay was a brilliant teacher who could “illustrate” a complex lecture focusing upon positive vorticity advection (or other difficult concept) without need for a note, a slide, an overhead or a PowerPoint. He was clear, organized, so very well prepared, and made coming to class the highlight of that day. I took biogeography, climate patterns, and the Great Smoky Mountains trip and one to the Ozarks and Boston Mountains.

  38. I am very sorry to read about the passing of our wonderful, kind, thoughtful and thought-provoking professor Dr. Harman. I served as his TA during my Masters at MSU and also took his Env. Ethics course. May his family and friends be comforted by wonderful memories of his bright and warm soul.

  39. One of my first Geography courses at MSU was Physical Geography with Dr.Harman. To this day when someone says, “Hi”, I immediately finish the statement in my mind with “temperature”. That is how he would begin his class. He would say “Hi”, pause and then say ‘”temperature”. After that would be a short daily weather report. That was in the early 80’s and I still share that story alot 30 years later. Memorable and always initiates a smile. Peace to the Harman family during this time of loss.

  40. Jay will be missed on many levels, not the least of which are his letters to the editor on behalf of liberal and enlightened causes.

  41. It was an Honor to be his student and to have a chance to learn more about ethics, geography, English, environment, writing… with the wonderful and peaceful person Dr. Harman was.

  42. At our weekly CSTAT (Center for Statistical Training and Consulting) meetings, we discuss research methods, individual consulting cases, and how we can best help our clients at MSU. This is beneficial for everyone, particularly our student consultants. Today we discussed an important case involving environmental policy. In remembrance of Jay Harman, we discussed ethical issues and Jay’s belief that obtaining a PhD is a privilege, and that we owe society our efforts to improve the world we live in. Let’s keep passing on the message!

  43. I worked with Jay Harman for 20 years. He was always thoughtful, polite, and “because I knew him, I have been changed….”

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