Campus News

UGA to host symposium in honor of James O. Wheeler

Athens, Ga. – A symposium honoring the late James O. Wheeler will take place on the University of Georgia campus April 20, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. in room 200C of the geography and geology building.

The event, which will focus on urban and economic geography, is free and open to the public. Speakers will include William Graves of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Selima Sultana and Keith Debbage of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Eric Fournier of Samford University and Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen of the State University of New York-Buffalo.

Wheeler, the Merle Prunty, Jr. Professor Emeritus in the department of geography, died Dec. 9, 2010. Born in Muncie, Ind., he received his undergraduate degree from Ball State Teachers College, now Ball State University. After teaching English and geography in junior high and high school, he began graduate work at Indiana University, where he was awarded a master’s degree in 1963 and a Ph.D. in 1966.

Wheeler’s early teaching career at the college level included positions at Indiana University in Gary, Ohio State University, Western Michigan University and Michigan State University. In 1971 he joined the UGA faculty, where he served as geography department head from 1975 to 1983. Wheeler advised graduate students and taught until his retirement in 1999. His writing and research continued until his death.

Wheeler served as head of two divisions of the Association of American Geographers, first as chair of the East Lakes Division and later as president of the Southeastern Division. He published numerous research articles and authored two widely-used textbooks, Economic Geography and Urban Geography, as well as many other books and publications. He was a founding editor of the journal Urban Geography, in which he served as co-editor from 1980 to 2003. From 1992 to 2003, he edited the Southeastern Geographer.

For more information about the UGA department of geography, see