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M. Gordon 'Reds' Wolman: 1924 - 2010

GUEST BOOK: Share your memories of Reds and read the stories already left by others at this Reds Wolman tribute page at Whiting School of Engineering web site.

President Ronald J. Daniels and Dean of Engineering Nicholas P. Jones sent this broadcast e-mail message to Johns Hopkins University faculty, students and staff on Thursday, Feb. 25, announcing the death of M. Gordon "Reds" Wolman, the university's B. Howell Griswold Jr. Professor of Geography and International Affairs.

Dear Faculty, Students and Staff,

One of the most distinguished and beloved men ever to grace this university has died.

M. Gordon Wolman -- "Reds," of course, to everyone -- had been, until his death on Wednesday at 85, a member of our faculty since 1958.

But the truth is that -- as the son of the equally legendary Professor Abel Wolman -- Reds had been a Johns Hopkins man almost literally from birth. He grew up at this university, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1949 and returned as associate professor and chair of what was then the Isaiah Bowman Department of Geography.

He was promoted to professor in 1962 and appointed as the B. Howell Griswold Jr. Professor of Geography and International Affairs in 1975. He chaired his department, now known as the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, for three decades. He served two terms as interim provost. He was an esteemed teacher. He was an incredibly influential scholar, having literally written the book on how rivers work. He was as much a citizen of the world as he was a citizen of the university, devoting much of his time and expertise to issues of environmental policy.

But, most of all, he was Reds: genial, gentle, eloquent, kind, and always worth talking to. When you saw that carrot top and bow tie headed your way, you couldn't help but smile. You couldn't help but know your day was about to take a turn for the better.

For the first time since 1937, The Johns Hopkins University is without a Professor Wolman on its faculty. Reds and his father were giants. We are a far better university for the years they spent here, and far better people for having known and learned from them.

Our deepest sympathies -- and, we are sure, those of the entire Johns Hopkins community -- go to Reds' wife, Elaine; son, Abel; and daughters, Elsa, Abby and Fredericka.

Opportunities to remember Reds will be announced when arrangements are made.

Ronald J. Daniels, President
Nicholas P. Jones, Benjamin T. Rome Dean, Whiting School of Engineering

Learn more about Reds Wolman

(Image of Reds Wolman: Jay Corey, November 2009)