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Professor Emeritus David D. Houghton passed away on 22 June 2016 in Woodbury, Minnesota. Born on 26 April 1938, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, David Houghton was known as a dedicated teacher, research mentor, and outstanding departmental and atmospheric and climate sciences research community citizen for 33 years. At all times best embodied the spirit of the “Wisconsin Idea” – the notion that that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom.  Dr. David Houghton received a B.S. in Meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University in 1959 and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington in 1963. He was a research scientist at NCAR from 1963 to 1968 before joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Meteorology faculty in 1968 and was promoted to Full Professor in 1972. David was Department Chair at UW-Madison for two terms: from 1976-79 and from 1991-94. In addition he held departmental leadership positions as associate chair for both the undergraduate and graduate academic programs of the department. During his tenure at UW-Madison, David was an exemplary departmental citizen and leader – contributing importantly in the foundations of a solid department: teaching, research, and service until his retirement from the UW-Madison Department in 2001. He executed and encouraged high ethical standards of conduct in service and leadership at the University. As professor emeritus, Dr. Houghton remained an active researcher and mentor to graduate students before moving with his wife Barbara to Woodbury, MN in 2008. In the last decade, David conducted extensive public outreach on a passion of his – educating the broader public on the science and impacts of anthropogenic climate change. His goal was to raise public interest and attention to the issue of climate change including both its reality and complexity.

Dr. Houghton published over 80 refereed journal articles in the areas of climate dynamics, coupled atmosphere-ocean systems, synoptic and mesoscale weather systems, numerical modeling, and education. His research spanned multiple dynamical scales from work on gravity waves, seasonal transitions in large-scale flow, the impact of sea surface temperatures on the monsoonal and mid-latitude circulations. Dr. Houghton had a distinguished teaching record at both the undergraduate and graduate levels serving as the principal advisor for 11 PhD and 30 MS students. He created and taught the first significant numerical weather prediction courses in the department in the 1970’s and was a key leader in the instruction of many of the undergraduate and graduate core curricula.

Dr. Houghton provided leadership and distinguished service to the atmospheric sciences community throughout his career. He has served on a number of University Corporation for Atmospheric Research committees, National Science Foundation and NASA advisory committees. He served as Visiting Senior Scientist at the National Meteorological Center (1988), Visiting Consultant at the World Meteorological Organization (1997), and Visiting Professor at Clark Atlanta University (1998). His service for the American Meteorological Society (AMS) included Commissioner for Education and Human Resources (1987-93) and President of the AMS (1995). Dr. Houghton was a fellow of both the AMS and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Houghton’s deep commitment to education and science, and to the stewardship of institutional processes which advance our sciences’ collective goals is evidenced by his being the recipient of two AMS awards the Charles Franklin Brooks Award for enthusiastic and critical support, as both Commissioner and President, for major [AMS] initiatives in education, in environmental applications, and with private industry; and the Charles E. Anderson Award for “for improving educational opportunities for underrepresented groups through efforts as Commissioner and President of the Society and through teaching at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

David was broadly active and athletic.  The breadth and intensity of his play left many an opponent breathless.  Many will recall their highly competitive racquetball, handball, tennis and ping-pong games with him. He was an avid bicyclist – often biking daily 13 miles each way to and from work from his semi-rural farmhouse in McFarland. The Houghton’s home was the site of many memorable departmental gatherings for incoming graduate students, graduating seniors, and faculty colleagues. All remember the warmth and gracious hospitality of the Houghton’s generously sharing their home for these social occasions. 

On Saturday, 22 October, at 1PM, a memorial service for family, colleagues, and friends is scheduled at the Houghton’s former McFarland home located at 2447 Hwy AB.

If you plan to attend the gathering please register now at: https://goo.gl/forms/FZYVrs5hiGsQC9Sn2

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