Donald Johnson Honored by American Meteorological Society


Terri Gregory
(608) 263-3733

Stephanie Kenitzer
(425) 432-2192


Donald R. Johnson, emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has won the 2005 Teaching Excellence Award by the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the nation's leading professional society for those in the atmospheric and related sciences.

Johnson, who began teaching at the university in 1964, is being recognized for his “excellence in teaching as evidenced by his mentoring of students who have become leaders in the meteorological community.” Among his former students are Richard Anthes, President of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research; William Downey, Associate Director of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Ronald Townsend, President and CEO of the Oakridge Associated Universities and former commander of the Air Forces Institute of Technology; Louis Uccellini, Director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction; Carlyle Wash, Head of the Department of Meteorology at the Naval Postgraduate School; John Zillman, former Director of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and President of the World Meteorological Organization; and many others active and influential in atmospheric science. Jonathan Martin, who chairs the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, noted, “The contributions of a great teacher literally shape the science itself. Don’s influence on our field is extraordinary and is robustly represented in the excellence of his many influential students.”

The Teaching Excellence Award is given annually to an individual to recognize sustained outstanding teaching and mentoring at the undergraduate and/or graduate levels in the atmospheric, oceanic, and related sciences. Johnson is pleased that he could touch so many in his lifetime of teaching and said, “Students, through research and discussions, are the stimulus and life blood that professors enjoy.” Johnson will be presented the award tonight at the AMS 85 th Annual Meeting in San Diego.

A native of Inman, Kansas, Johnson completed undergraduate degrees in mathematics and meteorology, followed by active military service in the United States Air Force as a meteorologist. He then entered the University of Wisconsin to pursue Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in meteorology, followed by joining the faculty and teaching for three decades. Johnson retired from teaching in 1994. He remains active as a senior scientist in the university’s Space Science and Engineering Center, where he leads a numerical modeling group. His research in climate models and circulation theories is widely recognized.

Johnson is also special projects scientist for the National Weather Service and director of Earth Sciences for the Universities Space Research Association in Columbia, Maryland. Johnson is also a fellow of the AMS and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Johnson has served as the President of the AMS and received the Charles Franklin Brooks Award from the AMS.

The AMS, founded in 1919, is a scientific and professional organization that promotes the development and dissemination of information on atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences. The Society publishes nine well-respected scientific journals, sponsors scientific conferences, and supports public education and outreach programs across the country. Additional information on the AMS, the Annual Meeting, and other award winners is available on the Internet at



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12 jan 2005 jao