Reflected glory
I've always been happy to have been a graduate student at Penn State University's geography department in 1969-72. Being somewhat slow by comparison with some of my fellow students I was lucky to have been tutored by some of geography's finest. It's easy for me to identify the skills both personal and professional that I gained there. All told, one of my best way stops. My doctoral committee was headed by Ron Abler, who overcame that possible embarrassment by continuous progress through a distinguished career. The following is his biography, found at the International Geographical Union, which only scratches the surface.

"Ronald F. Abler has been active in the International Geographical Union (IGU) since 1976. He was a charter member of the IGU Study Group and the IGU Commission on the Geography of Communications and Telecommunications from 1984 to 1992. Following his 1996-2000 term as Vice President, he was elected IGU Secretary General and Treasurer in 2000 and served in that capacity through 2006, when he again became an IGU Vice President.

Abler's research has explored the ways societies have used intercommunications technologies at different times and places. He has written numerous research articles and is co-author or editor of several books, including Spatial Organization: The Geographer’s View of the World (with John Adams and Peter Gould), A Comparative Atlas of America’s Great Cities: Twenty Metropolitan Regions, and Geography’s Inner Worlds: Pervasive Themes in Contemporary American Geography (with Melvin Marcus and Judy M. Olson). From 1994-2002, Abler was Scientific Administrator for the Association of American Geographers’ innovative Global Change and Local Places project; he edited the book summarizing the project’s findings: Global Change and Local Places: Estimating, Understanding, and Reducing Greenhouse Gases (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Abler was made a Fellow of the AAAS in 1985. Among the other organizations that have recognized his contributions to geography are the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, which awarded him its Centenary Medal in 1990, the Association of American Geographers (Honors in 1995), the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers (the Victoria Medal in 1996), and the American Geographical Society which conferred on him its Samuel Finley Breese Morse Medal in 2004."

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