Natural Hazards Scholarship (SN6211)

The Natural Hazards Scholarship honors Dr. Gilbert F. White for his contribution to natural hazards research in geography and for his commitment in facilitating future generations of natural hazards geographers. One scholarship is awarded each spring pending available funding and applied to the following fall. The Natural Hazards Scholarship honors Dr. Gilbert F. White (11/26/1911 – 10/05/2006) for his contribution to natural hazards research in geography and facilitates future generations of natural hazards geographers.

Gilbert White is an outstanding scientist of the human environment. White went to Washington D.C. in 1934, having completed all but the dissertation for a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. His task was to assist a committee of the Public Works Administration in preparing a comprehensive plan for the Mississippi Valley. After returning from four years of refugee service with the American Friends Service Committee and a stint as a college president, White became Professor of Geography at the University of Chicago. For the next 15 years, he initiated a series of comprehensive studies whereby he and his students sought to identify the various uses of the floodplains across the United States and the adjustments that made their use possible.

His efforts to broaden the choice of adjustments has been applied to other hazards as well, both nationally and internationally, including avalanches, coastal flooding and erosion, drought, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, snow, tropical cyclones, volcanoes, and wind. While White was trained as a geographer and taught geography for many years, his last university role was in an interdisciplinary research center, characteristic of an evolving scientific effort that sought insight wherever it may be found. Thus, his papers have been coauthored by a broad range of colleagues including anthropologists, biologists, economists, engineers, geologists, medical doctors, physicists, psychologists, sociologists, and many others as well as geographers. White has been awarded the National Academy of Sciences Environmental Award, the Sasakawa International Environmental Prize, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Volvo Environment Prize.

The National Academy of Sciences honored him with its Public Welfare Medal, the Academy’s most prestigious award for individuals.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • be a graduate student who has a demonstrated interest in natural hazards
  • have a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • contribute product (e.g., paper, presentation, annotated bibliography) at the end of the scholarship period

College of Liberal Arts
Supplemental Questions
  1. Have you demonstrated interest in natural hazards?
  2. Please discuss your interest in natural hazards.