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August 6, 2018

Wayne Schubert ‘halo of wisdom’ going strong

Colleagues, friends, family and former students of Professor Emeritus Wayne Schubert gathered July 27 at the Department of Atmospheric Science to honor the scientist’s “retirement,” or lack of it. After 45 years with the department, Schubert has no intention of leaving research or the department.

“It’s been a great pleasure for me to watch the department grow,” said Schubert as he addressed the audience assembled to pay tribute to him. The department has grown significantly since Schubert joined the faculty in 1973. Since then Schubert has authored 105 publications and advised 32 M.S. and 27 Ph.D. students. Several of them were present to recognize the influence he has had on their lives, with one of his first students, Pedro Silva Dias, traveling from Brazil for the reception.

Pedro praised Schubert’s expert duality in dealing with both the theoretical and practical, and explained how that has impacted his own career. Associate Professor Michael Bell, who has been both Schubert’s student and colleague, described the “Wayne Schubert halo effect,” or the sphere of understanding that Schubert emanates and the knowledge gained in his presence. Senior research associate Rick Taft, who has worked for Schubert since 1991, characterized Schubert as “a jack of all trades and master of everything.”

“Wayne is an amazing man for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration,” Taft said. “He not only has the intellectual gift, discipline and work ethic to be the top-notch, world-class scientist that he is, but he also has an impeccable character that leads him to be humble, gentle, kind, respectful, patient and truly caring of others.”

Schubert has been recognized by the American Meteorological Society for his outstanding contributions to the science and by CSU for his teaching and student advising skills. He has served as the co-chief editor of the Journal of Atmospheric Science and as the publications commissioner for the American Meteorological Society journals.

Though Schubert has retired from teaching, he continues to be a mentor and respected colleague. He recently completed a research proposal to advance his group’s studies in atmospheric dynamics, numerical weather prediction and tropical meteorology.

University Distinguished Professor Dave Randall pointed out that he had known Schubert longer than anyone else in the department. Randall and Schubert both studied under Akio Arakawa at the University of California. Schubert was finishing his Ph.D. when Randall was a new graduate student.

“Arakawa told me to learn from Wayne, and I still am,” Randall said.

Department Head and Professor Jeff Collett said Schubert had set the tone of the department more than anyone else. “I’m thankful you will still be around sharing your halo of wisdom.”

Proving he was indeed the humble and generous person described by his admirers, Schubert shared words of gratitude at the conclusion of the ceremony. He also discussed how much the atmospheric science campus had changed since he started in ’73, when it was a single three-story building, and how the people have made the place what it is.

“It’s not so much the buildings, it’s the people in those buildings. When I look at the buildings, I think about the neurons firing inside.”

Schubert ceremony faculty lunch Schubert slide Schubert cake Schubert bookend Schubert with colleagues