Jim Knox, geomorphologist and professor emeritus at the Department of Geography, died suddenly at his Madison home on Saturday, Oct. 6. He retired from teaching in 2011, but continued his research in Science Hall. Students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Department were shocked and saddened by the news of this unexpected loss of our colleague, mentor, and friend.
“Jim always went above and beyond as an adviser and a friend, said graduate student, Samantha Greene. “He had an open door policy and always was elated to have someone stop by, whether to talk about the weekend amusements or latest research discoveries. He was an incredible geomorphologist and geographer who vastly improved our understanding and conceptualization of fluvial systems.”
“As his colleagues, we knew him as a model citizen of his department, university and profession. He was always willing to dedicate his time, good nature and common sense to work for the greater good,” said fellow physical geography professor, Joe Mason.
During his 43 years as a faculty member at UW-Madison, Knox’s research transformed the field of fluvial geomorphology (studying streams and the landforms they produce), opening new avenues that linked his field to broader contemporary environmental issues. To tens of thousands of students, he was a much-loved teacher, explaining not only how streams and soils work, but why we should care about them.
A memorial service will take place on Friday, Oct. 12 at noon, with a visitation beginning at 10 a.m., at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road.