In Memory of Professor John Kutzbach

Generations of University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty, staff, and students had the pleasure of working with Professor John Kutzbach PhD’66 during his long, successful career. Many also had the great honor of becoming his colleagues, mentees, and friends.

For over 30 years, John served the UW–Madison community as a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and the director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research (CCR), succeeding Professor Reid Bryson, CCR’s founding director.

Throughout his career, John treasured his collaborations with an international group of paleoecologists, glaciologists, geomorphologists, marine geologists, and paleoanthropologists. He and his wife, Gisela, invited his colleagues from around the world into their lives and home, forming decades-long friendships they both cherished. Throughout his academic career, John also delighted in his role of mentoring and encouraging young climate scientists.

On January 29, 2021, John passed away following a long illness. Read his obituary

John’s legacy of excellent research and compassionate mentorship lives on through the Center for Climate Research.

Honoring John Kutzbach

In April 2022, John’s beloved wife, Professor Emerita Gisela Kutzbach, accepted the Outstanding Achievement Alumni Award from the UW–Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences on his behalf.

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Ankur Desai presents the Outstanding Achievement Alumni Award to Gisela Kutzbach
Michael Notaro, interim director of the Center for Climatic Research, speaks to the audience from a podium
A crowd of about 30 people listens to a presenter
A video screen shows an image from 1990 of John Kutzbach standing on a mountain in Maroon Bells, Colorado
A video screen shows an image of John Kutzbach wearing a cap and gown at a graduation ceremony
Members of John Kutzbach's family attended the celebration of his life and distinguished career
Bette Otto-Bliesner leads a presentation about John Kutzbach's life and career
Gisela Kutzbach talks with Bette Otto-Bliesner
Gisela Kutzbach speaks from a podium
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Support the Kutzbach Climate Research Fund

If you would like to make a gift in honor of John’s memory, you can do so by donating to the Kutzbach Research Fund.

This fund provides general, discretionary support to the Center for Climatic Research (CCR). Gifts may be used to enhance or expand the center’s teaching, research, and public service roles or to help the center pursue new opportunities and address strategic priorities, including the top-tier research of CCR scientists. Gifts may also be used to support faculty, staff, and student recruitment, retention, and morale.

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