A golden week

University colleagues and staff toast UCAR and NCAR’s 50th

2 November 2010  •  After a public open house and an all-staff party in June, UCAR and NCAR brought the university community into the 50th anniversary festivities during the week of 4–8 October. As part of their annual meeting, UCAR member and affiliate representatives attended a gala dinner on 5 October at the University of Colorado’s Stadium Club. Also on hand were senior scientists, present and former directors, and a few people who were at the table in the late 1950s and early 1960s when NCAR and UCAR came into being. 

Francis Bretherton and Tom Malone
Former NCAR director Francis Bretherton (top) and Thomas Malone (bottom), a member of the committee that founded UCAR, were among many luminaries on hand for the 50th dinner.

One of the evening's surprises came when the UCAR Board of Trustees announced that the newest UCAR facility, located at 3375 Mitchell Lane in Boulder, had been designed as the Anthes Building in honor of longtime UCAR president Richard Anthes (see related article).

The 2010 UCAR Forum had a festive air of a different sort, as the attendees discussed the intersections between art, communication, and climate science. Jason Neff and Michelle Ellsworth (University of Colorado) reported on a team-taught course that blended climate science and performance art. English professors John Calderazzo and SueEllen Campbell (Colorado State University) described their multiyear effort to organize a series of campus presentations, activities, and online videos. Two photographers shared their visions: Chris Jordan, who builds on tiny objects via Photoshop to create massive statements on our global environment, and Joshua Wolfe, who collaborated with NASA’s Gavin Schmidt on the photo-rich book Climate Change: Picturing the Science.

The follow-up website for the 2010 October meetings includes links to annual reports from UCAR president Richard Anthes, NCAR director Roger Wakimoto, and UCP director Jack Fellows, as well as a variety of other materials. Also online are the UCAR@50 report, a set of short video remembrances collected from community members at the 2009 October meetings, and a slideshow of photos from the 50th banquet.

A year for university anniversaries, too

UCAR and NCAR weren’t the only ones celebrating recently.  In fact, two of the nation’s leading programs in atmospheric science toasted their own 50th aniversaries in the same week that UCAR did.  At the University at Albany, State University of New York, the events included a evening keynote talk on climate change from NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth on 3 October, followed by a full day of science presentations from SUNY–Albany alumni on topics that included lightning, hurricane intensity, air quality, and numerical weather prediction. The University of Oklahoma saluted its half-century of meteorology on 8–9 October (see photo below) with overview talks on tornado research and storm chasing, radar meteorology, and numerical weather prediction, as well as decade-by-decade reminiscing sessions and a keynote talk from National Weather Service director Jack Hayes. And earlier this summer, more than 130 alumni of Pennsylvania State University gathered to honor the 75th anniversary of meteorology at Penn State. The events included a full-day symposium, another day of special events, and a trolley tour of campus led by professor emeritus Charles Hosler, who directed the meteorology department from 1961 to 1965.

Election results

 The UCAR family expanded by three institutions this year.  At the October meetings, Michigan State University was elected as the 76th member. Two academic affiliates were approved by the Membership Committee in June: State University of New York at Oswego and University of North Carolina Asheville. Members also elected the following to the UCAR Board of Trustees:

Institutional trustees

Steve Ackerman, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Ken Bowman
(two-year term), Texas A&M University
Amy Clement
, University of Miami
Kerry Cook
, University of Texas at Austin
Dennis Hartmann
, University of Washington

At-large trustees

Molly Macauley (Resources for the Future)
Scott Sternberg

For new committee members and other election results, please see the meeting’s follow-up website.


Kaye Howe, Ed Wolff, Mary Wolff
Kaye Howe (left, UCP) with NCAR’s second employee, Mary Wolff (right), and Ed Wolff, another early staffer.


*Media & nonprofit use of images: Except where otherwise indicated, media and nonprofit use permitted with credit as indicated above and compliance with UCAR's terms of use. Find more images in the NCAR|UCAR Multimedia & Image Gallery.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.