Stuckeman School to host environmental entrepreneur Jack Dangermond Oct. 2

Jack Dangermond and his wife, Laura, founded the Environmental Systems Research Institute in 1969. Since then, the institute has become the world’s leading geographic information system software developer.  Credit: Environmental Systems Research InstituteAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jack Dangermond, founder and president of the world’s leading geographic information system (GIS) software developer, will visit Penn State on Oct. 2 as part of the Department of Landscape Architecture’s Bracken Lecture Series. His talk — titled “Geography and Landscape: The Foundations for Geodesign” — will be held at 6 p.m. in the HUB’s Freeman Auditorium.

With a background in landscape architecture and urban design, Dangermond and his wife, Laura, founded the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) in 1969 with the idea that computer-based mapping and analysis could make significant contributions to geographic planning and environmental science. Over the past 50 years, the company has grown to include 49 offices worldwide, 11 research centers and more than 350,000 user organizations around the globe. The company’s ArcGIS is the world’s largest-selling GIS software product. 

A self-made businessman, Dangermond is a pioneer in the commercialization of GIS software and has been recognized by Forbes magazine for his success in the tech industry. He has been a constant supporter of using geographic information science for the benefit of communities and the environment. One example of his efforts has been Esri’s framework for sustainable development in which the company provides data and tools to aid organizations and governments in developing green infrastructure strategies.

Dangermond has received numerous awards in recognition of his influence and contributions in the fields of land planning, environmental science, geography and GIS, including: the Library of American Landscape History Legacy Award; the Audubon Medal of the National Audubon Society; the Cullum Geographical Medal of the American Geographical Society; the Horwood Award of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association; the Anderson Medal of the Association of American Geographers; the John Wesley Powell Award of the U.S. Geological Survey; the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal of the International Cartographic Association; the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society; the Alexander Graham Bell Medal of the National Geographic Society; and the Arthur C. Lundahl Lifetime Achievement Award of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.

He has served on committees, councils and the board of directors of a number of professional organizations and has received 13 honorary degrees from institutions such as the University of Buffalo, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Minnesota, the University of Arizona, Redlands University and the City University of London.

A native of Redlands, California, Dangermond earned his undergraduate degree in landscape architecture and environmental science at the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. He received a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Minnesota and a master of landscape architecture degree from Harvard University.

This year, Penn State's Department of Landscape Architecture named Dangermond its 2019-20 John R. Bracken Fellow, which is the highest honor bestowed by the department. His public talk is the inaugural event of this year's Bracken Lecture Series. Bracken was a key figure the department’s rich history — he was among the first to graduate from Penn State with an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture and he served as department head from 1924 to 1957. The lecture series, which began in the spring of 1982, was made possible by a generous endowment from Bracken's estate. 

Last Updated October 23, 2019