Sad news

Shared by Riley Dunlap on January 1, 2015


Sadly we lost your buddy Bob Gramling this year.  Like you, he left us too early.  What an incredible collaboration you two had, and many have benefitted from the work of "Freudling" and "Gramburg."  Besides being superb scholars, you were wonderful human beings.   

You are missed, and your work (including that with Bob) continues to inspire and be used by other scholars.  I just cited two of your articles today!

You are always on my mind, and I miss you a great deal.



Happy Birthday

Shared by Riley Dunlap on November 2, 2013

Dear Bill,

How I wish you were still here to celebrate your 62nd birthday.  But please know that your memory is burning bright in lives of so many people, and your work is getting more attention than ever.  We miss you.

Your dear friend,
Riley Dunlap    

Ode to Bill

Shared by Riley Dunlap on June 8, 2011

The following is the statement I read at Freudenfest:

By 1976 Bill Catton and I had teamed up at Washington State and I was excited not only about becoming an “environmental sociologist,” but eager to see the field develop—especially at Washington State. In those early days social impact assessment was a hot topic and a key component of this new field, so when WSU’s Department of Rural Sociology (where I had a half-time appointment) had an opening that year I pushed to have it re-defined from a “community development” position to more of a social impact slot—and Don Dillman, the new Chair, was receptive to the idea. So we advertised for a joint position with the Department of Sociology that, while I don’t recall the details, was designed for someone doing SIA.
At the August 1976 ASA meeting I made a point of attending a session in which someone from Yale was giving a presentation on “energy boomtowns” in Colorado, and what a presentation it was. A boyishly handsome young fellow, with a full head of hair no less, knocked my socks off with an enthusiastic and articulate talk about the impact of energy development on rural communities—and I knew I had found the ideal candidate and cornered Bill when the session ended. I told him about the position and how he’d be a perfect fit, but he indicated he wasn’t even close to being finished with his dissertation and wasn’t on the market. I was disappointed, but vowed to keep my eye on him.
Fortunately, the two people we interviewed turned us down, so when we re-advertised the following year I made sure to track Bill down at the 1977 ASA meeting where he again gave a great talk. This time I pushed hard to get him to apply, and truth be known, the small-town Nebraska boy had become a real Ivy League guy and was a bit unsure about both rural sociology and Washington State University, especially its location in Pullman. But I explained that a research appointment in Rural Sociology meant a lower teaching load, re-emphasized that he was a perfect fit for the position, and then added he’d have very good colleagues!  Despite still having a lot of work left on his dissertation Bill applied and got the job, and arrived in Fall, 1978 ABD.
To my pleasant surprise, Gene Rosa applied for a position in Sociology the same year, largely I suspect because his partner at the time was very interested in WSU, and was also hired and we landed a rare specialist in energy, another hot topic in the emerging field of environmental sociology. I was in heaven, as we not only had the world’s first environmental sociology program, but a damn good one.
The next several years were truly “glory years” for WSU environmental sociology, and we had a real esprit de corps. Bill took the office next door to mine in Rural Sociology, and we struck up a fast friendship. He was full of ideas and happy to share them and also eager to hear mine, and not shy about expressing his views on his, mine and just about everybody else’s. Shy Bill was not, and while he occasionally ruffled the feathers of a few senior members of the department he also earned the respect and admiration of others, especially Bill Catton and James Short. I simply enjoyed talking with him, as he always had good insights on everything from boomtowns to paradigms.
When he wasn’t out with Gene, who (after his partner left WSU) was trying to teach Bill how to become a “lady’s man,” he’d sometimes join me for a night out or come over for dinner with my family. My kids and (now ex) wife liked Bill a lot, and my son Chris was especially fond of him. In particular, he enjoyed checking out Bill’s office with its unique filing system (piles everywhere) every time I happened to bring him to my office. Of course, this created some problems, as when I’d tell Chris to clean up his room and he’d respond, “Why? It’s not as messy as Bill’s office.” I had to agree, but emphasized that Bill’s office was not part of our home!
Of course, all good things have to come to an end, and in 1986 Bill was wooed to Madison. While he hated to leave WSU (or so he said) he just had to get out of Pullman if he ever wanted to find a woman. I in turn pointed out that’s it’s really hard to find one when you work until 11 pm or later each night! Still, I realized it was a good professional move, and of course Gene and I joked “Is it Pullman, or is it Freudenburg?” and made wagers about whether Bill would ever find a woman who could put up with his work habits. I’m glad to say we were both quite happy to be proven wrong, and delighted when he found Sarah.
Over the decades I’ve watched him evolve from “Boomtown Bill” to William R. as in “recreance” Freudenburg to a fellow whose prodigious body of superb scholarship attracts a well-deserved “disproportional” share of attention, who is continually creative and novel and thus doesn’t need to engage in “diversionary reframing,” whose professionalism has often helped combat the growth of “corrosive communities” within our field, and whose collegiality has generated a “density of acquaintanceship” to be envied. And trust me, my praise is no SCAM!
Quite simply, Bill is one of the very smartest and most creative scholars I’ve ever known. He has produced a body of scholarly work that has advanced environmental sociology and social science greatly, and will continue to stimulate other scholars for decades to come.
The friendship we formed during those early years easily survived Bill’s move to Wisconsin, and over the past three decades I’ve had no better and more reliable friend than Bill Freudenburg. I’ve had some ups and downs in my life and career, and I have always been able to turn to Bill when in need of a helping hand whether just a pat on the back or quick feedback on an overdue manuscript. As they say, a friend in need is a friend indeed, and it’s been a privilege and honor to have Bill as a close friend and confidant. Indeed, he’s become more like a brother, and that’s why I love him like one and always will.
Shared by Allison Louie on March 14, 2011

I did not know Dr. Freudenburg very well and only took one course with him, but I never forgot him. Dr. Freudenburg was one professor I knew I would never forget as he made a profound impact on my life and love for the environment. My deep condolences goes out to the family, friends, students and ex-students of Professor Bill Freudenburg. He was was extremely gifted at what he did and completely enthusiastic about spreading his knowledge to others, so much so that he basically reformed me into a hippie! You will be forever missed and never forgotten, as your students will live on to teach others what you have taught them. RIP Dr. Freudenburg

Shared by Katey Simetra on February 24, 2011

Life scurries by and I was thinking tonite that it might be time to check in with Bill, my “birthday twin”--exactly same date and year of birth. I was struck dumb by the news that Bill has passed on, yet not at all surprised by his legacy professionally and personally.

I knew Bill at WSU where, although I tremendously respected his environmental sociology work and his beautiful singing voice I heard periodically, I knew him best as my friend. Through his friendship, care, and respect, I found my voice to face and set boundaries with a family situation that had only grown worse through the years. It was the first time I would set those boundaries, and it was the start to changing my life, healing my past, and moving on. We were both workaholics at the time, and joked about that, as well, sharing invigorating philosophies, stories, and issues, and I remembered having this sense of his strength and clear voiced passion for his lifework. Impressive, especially since I'm much more a wanderer, although also a lover of nature and a protector in my way. His contributions simply amaze me, even from afar.

I'd e-mail Bill once in a while (often around our birthdays) to see what was new, and that way learned about his marriage, his child, and his moves. Each time we connected, I felt that connection again in friendship and delight at the path his life had taken, his happiness, and his many achievements in support of the environment that so needs passion like his. Sometimes , I'd simply look up his website on campus to see what else he had been doing--so much energy!

In hearing this shocking news tonite, I offer my own memories and share blessings to those he has touched... and to him. To Bill, wonderful friend and “birthday twin” from Washington State, a gentle farewell... Katey


Bill Freudenburg, my teacher

Shared by Quang Do on January 27, 2011

I remember that, as he walked into my ES classroom for the first time in 2002, Bill Freudenburg turned his head, looked directly at us, then smiled.  I remember his eyes were bright and intelligent, yet so gentle and humble.  His smile was like one people reserved for close friends even though most of us had never met him before.  Just like that, Bill put us at ease, drew us into his lecture, and let us walk out of the room feeling happy and rewarded for being there that day.

Choosing Environment Studies major is very significant for my education at UCSB, and having Bill's classes is at the heart of it.  In his ES 106 class, Critical Thinking & Environment, I never felt more motivated for working until midnight on the group project and less concerned about grade.  That class project led to my senior thesis with Bill as my adviser.  He often reminded me that my senior thesis was his first advising project at UCSB.  It was during this time that Bill insisted on me calling him "Bill" instead of "Dr. Freudenburg".  I think he was more ecstatic than I when the grant proposal we drafted together for my thesis was approved.

In 2003, I graduated from UCSB without finishing my senior thesis and moved to the San Francisco Bay area for a full-time position .  When I called and told Bill I would not give up and wanted to finish my thesis, he was so supportive and encouraging that completing my thesis in an excellent manner became the sole option.  A year later, with my thesis completed and submitted, Bill told me how proud of me he was.  In spite of Bill's humility for never admitting it, his students like me know that his teaching and mentorship are instrumental in our success, and yet he always has more to give us.

Learning of Bill's illness was hard for me.  At times, I thought it was going away, as if such terrible disease had nothing to do with a deserving person like Bill.  In Spring 2010, when I went to UCSB for the 40-year ES Celebration, I got a chance to listen to his talk and have the lunch that he has promised me since I finished my thesis.  Amazingly, one could hardly see any sign of what was ravaging his body given his energy, enthusiasm, and the light from his eyes.  Only when he apologized for shifting his body frequently during lunch that I could sense the dread in his voice.  I was afraid his time could be short, but hoped that it would be enough for one more lunch at ES Reunion in 2011.

This piece of Moonlight Sonata playing in the background is not making it easy for me.

Eric Zimmerman told me when he helped me get a copy of Bill's last book that Bill's signature was priceless.  His signature and message for me are priceless indeed, for they will remind me what Bill has given his students.  I heard that, beside his scholarly achievements, Bill received "Outstanding Teacher" award.  Some even call him the best teacher.  I think Bill would be embarrassed in a comparison to his fellow professors.  He would rather know that, as a true teacher, he has successfully teach classroom lessons and much more to his students.  I'm blessed to be one of his students.  Bill is in peace, but his spirit is with the people whose lives he touched, caring, helping, working for a better tomorrow as he has done all his life.     


Chip Clarke's toast/roast at Freudenfest

Shared by Lee Clarke on January 24, 2011

My first encounter, and that’s the proper word for it, with Bill Freudenburg was at some conference, about 25 years ago. I submitted a paper I didn’t believe in. Charles Perrow, my mentor, was the discussant. I was still reading talks (like this). And I had to follow Bill. He was erudite, brilliant, create…and didn’t use notes. I broke out in collar sweat. That is  NOT when I realized I loved Bill.  I don’t really remember when that started, but I’m sure it was pretty soon thereafter. And it has increased ever since.

There’s been a lot of stuff between then and now, collaborations of various sorts; or scams as we came to call them—Bill’s word for any time he and I ever got together over the years, usually involving gin. Bill was largely responsible for my being inducted into AAAS early this year. (It’s hard to relay how perfectly timed that was.) I’m pretty sure it was an excuse for me to buy him a couple of martinis.

But let’s not dwell on mushy stuff. Bill wouldn’t. He  jokes about everything. It is totally like Bill that he’s even been making jokes about moving to the next level. Always brutally honest. Always fatally funny.

I want to say a few words about things I think about when I think about Bill.

I think about his voice. I’m not talking about his intellectual voice here. I mean your sonorous , piercing, very nearly Canadian voice.

I can hear it clear as a bell, on one of our scams, this one involving trying to create a research agenda for the DOE concerning “long term stewardship” of all the places it poisoned over the years. We got started on this project early in the Bush administration and were making fine progress. Then President Cheney got his tentacles down into the bureaucracy and all progress stopped. They brought in this bean-counter who tried to tell us what we had to do to “close” those poisoned places in 6 months. Bill went supernova.  I don’t remember the exact words Bill used; you can well imagine. But that’s the point. I’ll miss the voice.

I think about your preambles: these are the mini-lectures you give before asking a question at a conference; but they’re not like other peoples mini-lectures because they’re actually interesting. When I read your work I can hear your preambles.

I think of your visage. And when I think about this I think about your mustache that always needs trimming, your 70’s clothes that always need replacing. I think about your comb-over.

But mostly I think about your wit and intelligence, your insight and your acceptance. You have been a gauge by which I’ve judged myself. If you approved, I felt successful, even if I wasn’t always sure you actually read what you approved. And when you’ve been critical I’ve always been the better for it.

You’re a superb colleague, and even better friend.

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 24, 2011

This was part of the program distributed at Bill's "Celebration of Life" service held on 1.22.11.

Excerpt from a recent note sent by Bill following the Nov. 2010 Freudenfest:

As quite a few of you have learned already, and as I hope most of the rest of you will learn in the near future, one of the joys of being a professor is being a talent scout. If I helped you, or a friend of yours, it's because I genuinely enjoy the rare and special privilege of being able not just to watch but to help in some small way the rise of the people whose talents others won't see until later. As with that ceremonial drink with Kai, though, the key form of reciprocity is cross-generational. The best way to repay any kind-ness from me, or from any of the other people who've helped you, is to help those who are yet to come.

Many of you who've known me for a long time have heard some-thing I often say to our son Max -- in the long run, people get the kinds of friends they deserve. After Saturday night, though, I need to modify that. In certain rare cases, a fortunate few are honored by having better friends than they deserve. Thanks to you, I am one of those fortunate few.

So thank you, to all of you, and most of all, keep up the good work!

Humbly but appreciatively -- Bill

Student Quotes from Bill's Fall 2010 Course Evaluations

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 24, 2011

These were included in the program distributed at Bill's "Celebration of Life" service held on 1.22.11.

"The first day of class, I walked out of lecture thinking, 'This man could change my life'. And he did, he really did. Freudenburg is the best professor at this school. He is able to touch and inspire his students every time he speaks, a task most instructors find hopeless because of the size of their classes. But Freudenburg is full of hope. ... He reminded me why I am at school, and that I do like to learn. Thank you. You opened my eyes, and gave me the hope to make a difference."

"Best ES class I’ve taken so far. Actual real world application of environmental issues to every day life. Enthusiasm for subject is evident in every lecture."

"Prof. William Freudenburg has been the best teacher I have encountered so far at UCSB. He changed my outlook and gave me a new perspective on our rapidly changing world and as a result I am more environmentally conscious. He is an amazing instructor and his lectures were not only clear and concise but filled with new and relevant material."

"By far the best instructor/class I’ve ever had. Dr. Freudenburg is the most inspiring an innovative professor- maybe even person I’ve met. I love the connections made and unique perceptions given throughout the quarter."

"Freudenburg was awesome. I loved the videos he started every lecture with & how he ended each lecture with a powerful message. Very influential & inspiring."

"Prof. F achieved his goal in changing the way I think."

"This was the most thought provoking, interesting, and well taught class I’ve ever taken. I really enjoyed it."

"This class has truly been an eye-opening experience and is unlike any class I have taken at UCSB. Your passion for the subject and your compassion for the environment and people is inspirational to me. You are an environmental hero."

"It was a privilege to take Dr. Freudenburg’s class."

"Great professor! May his teachings resonate in us all!"

Fragments of Many Recollections

Shared by Michael Edelstein on January 23, 2011

Bill became one of my dearest friends and most valued colleagues in the 1980s, during the state studies of the candidate sites for a high level nuclear waste site, in which he played the central role. We had great adventures in Spokane later that decade, including running into George W. Bush at dinner just after the no net loss of wetlands policy was proclaimed. I think Steve Kroll Smith was along for that one. We sat just out of ear shot, allowing many irreverent comments. There were many adventures with the “New Orleans’ group” and at other venues, although as I am not a sociologist, I missed other opportunities (the picture I posted was when Luda and I went into ASA in New York to visit Bill). And there was my invitation to Santa Barbara to speak to the big Environmental Studies class, where I got to see Bill in context with students and colleagues. These and other times involved serious work and serious play. There are few folks with whom one could laugh as much. Bill published a fair share of my work in the journal he co-edited; he was someone with whom I could freely share my ideas. He has always been part of my significant others, even when we were not in touch, and will remain so. And I regret having to abandon my plan to come to Freudenfest, an event that I love everyone for doing. Reading his comments afterward it was clear that it was best gift imaginable. 

And now, Bill you live on through our memories and inspiration, through the important work you did and that your students will do and most importantly, through Max, you are vested in the next generation, a generation you worked so hard to make a better world for.

From Jane from St Paul's Grade School

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 16, 2011

Bill was always such a smart, fun, guy at St. Paul's - I was sure he'd grow up to be an actor with that voice of his! It was no surprise when I heard Bill received his PhD from Yale, he was an incredibly intelligent person, from grade school on. But he was really nice, I never had to worry about getting beat up by him! In grade school you do value that. It sounds like he had an incredible life, and as an educator, made a positive impact on many lives. 

From Ed and Betsy Marston, High Country News

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 16, 2011

I have a real ability to forget 95 percent of the people I meet, but Bill was unforgettable. He came to Paonia when it was out of most people's line of sight, and he was a breath of fresh air to Betsy and I, who were quixotically running a local newspaper - quixotically because we were like Bill in our backgrounds, and therefore we were different from almost everyone else in town.

It gave us a perspective on the place we had moved that Bill was interested in it, and that he brought an intellectual perspective to it. 

I am only sorry that I hadn't seen Bill in so long.  Bill came to Paonia and tried to make sense of the place - to put it in a larger context. That was extremely helpful to me.

Please accept my condolences. I cannot imagine how many lives Bill touched and how much of a difference he made. 

- Ed 

Bill seemed to have the energy and spirit of a young person on the brink of life. He was always a breath of fresh air when he came to Paonia, and I  liked reading about all the things he did in his too-brief life.               

- Betsy

Pom, pom, pom

Shared by Claire & Chris Mays on January 15, 2011

I met Bill in 1999 (in the context of a Nat Res Council Board on Radioactive Waste Management study) and learned the term "recreancy" at the same time. I guess that is just one of many terms that he came up with to pull together and designate phenomena we all know exist but could not pin down with a name.

I remember the pleasure with which Bill affirmed loudly that he was a "lifetime member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science" as a  magical defense against technologists who questioned the relevancy or the intelligence of what he was putting forward.

My central memory of Bill dates from a few years later, though, when someone at a seminar in Gothenburg wanted to sing. It ended up being that guy, myself, and Bill standing up closely grouped in the corner of the dimly lit dining room to sing "La Vie en Rose".  Did Bill have a handlebar moustache at the time? I don't know but he certainly had an earnest cowboy look as he supplied a wonderful, rich basso accompaniment to the words sung by the French researcher and myself. "Pom, pom, pom" in a solemn, meaningful way, the volume contrasting with his wiry form, the delicacy and artistry giving a new dimension to his crazy jump-in kind of academic presence.

I enjoy thinking of both Bill and Roger Kasperson - two very deep, brilliant men so instantly easy to get along with, so perceptive of others, so kind to most and so ready to thunder when something is needed cut through the technocratic fog.

Claire Mays, Inst. Symlog, Paris

Bill as academic neighbor and colleague

Shared by M Osborne on January 14, 2011

It was a distinct privilege to be in the Environmental Studies Program when we hired Bill as the first incumbent of the Dehlsen Chair of Environmental Studies.  He did everything we then hoped for and more.  The Program’s move to the venue of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management facilitated greater interaction between us as Bill’s office was across the hall from mine.  I remember holding the occasional graduate seminar in my office and Bill, who never worked behind a closed door and was quick with a joke, would have salient and important comments on everything we read. He had either read it too or he could size up the argument and relate it to environmental topics.  He was giving of his time, be the topic stem cells, ecology, or theory choice in science.

            Bill, I miss you, and I imagine you sailing on the Condor with friends and discussing your latest ideas of our beloved environment and still working to conserve what we have.  We are working to preserve your legacy, so indeed you are still working but are now excused from faculty meetings.

Mike Osborne, UCSB and Oregon State University

Channel Island Fox

Shared by Sonali Sinha on January 13, 2011

I was in Dr. Freudenburgs introductory class on Environmental Studies many years ago. I never forgot his lectures; they were so inspirational and thoughtful, and still reside in my heart today. They are the lens with which I can better understand our world.  The words in the story below are my words based on what I remember from one of his lectures (this one in particular made a huge impact on me).

Be it the unholy rivalry between the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation to moisten the arid west, that led to countless rivers diverted and dammed, or the under-handed part that General Motors is suspected of playing in the mysterious disappearance of the electric trolley system, in order to harness a permanent market for their automobiles, Los Angeles's past, colorful as it may be, has shaped the region in an irreversible way. The displacement of the Golden Eagles from their natural habitat is just one occurrence in the myriad of many that got caught in the under current of the chaos that was the urbanization of L.A.

Before it was prohibited in the U.S, the synthetic pesticide, DDT was
widely used throughout the Central Valley, to protect crops from
insects. The chemicals seeped into the water, and the toxins
bioaccumulated and biomagnified as they moved up the food chain;
leaving sea birds with record levels of toxic chemicals in their
systems, rendering feeble and ineffective, the eggshells of the Bald
Eagles, who lived just off of the coast of California, on the Channel

People introduced livestock to the Channel Islands. The pigs escaped,
and became feral; the introduction of livestock and their escape from
domestication and entry into the ecology of the Channel Islands,
further perturbed the delicate balance that had sustained there
previously.  For thousands of years, the Channel Islands had the means
by which to provide for the Bald Eagles, but they simply did not have
the adequate provisions to sustain the mammal hunting Golden Eagles,
who rarely share territory with the Bald Eagles; Southern California
was an overall better place for the Golden Eagles.

With the changing dynamics- dwindling population of the Bald Eagles,
introduction of the feral pigs (and therefore a food source for the
Golden Eagles), rapid urbanization of the Los Angeles area- the Golden
Eagles, who were being squeezed out of the Los Angeles region, started
flowing into the Channel Islands, for the first time in 16,000 years.
As one can imagine, they overwhelmed the feral pigs; and in only a few
years, the Golden Eagles have brought the Channel Island Foxes, who
had previously coexisted with humans and the Bald Eagles for thousands
of years, to the brink of extinction.

The consummate highway infrastructure in L.A (that transpired as a
result of the Los Angles sprawl) interacted with two separate
incidents, the rise of DDT, nationally, and agriculture on the Channel
Islands, in such a convoluted way, that it had implications for an
animal species, hundreds of miles away from the Los Angeles Sprawl.
The greater lesson being that, human made systems and natural systems
are already complicated and intertwined in it of themselves, but when
they are coupled, the potential for, not only unanticipated
consequences, but second and higher order consequences, compounding in
complexity, where multiple stories become intertwined, and interact in
unpredictable ways, is significant.  In heavy footprint areas, it is
important to proceed with the thought in mind, that we might never really know the
true impact of our practice.


Thank you Bill, for everything

Shared by Violetta Muselli on January 12, 2011

There is no way I can adequately explain what Bill meant to me and to so many others. He was my inspiration and source of guidance for most of my time at UCSB and reaffirmed my commitment to dedicating my college career and life to the pursuit of something better for the people and our planet. He challenged all of us to think about the problems facing our society in new ways and find solutions where most people only see doom.

For the last three years, I had the privilege and absolute pleasure of contributing to Bill’s research and getting a paper published together. Although difficult, it was the best part of my undergraduate experience. I am more confident, eloquent, and frankly, a better person because of the time I spent with him. Bill has given me direction for the rest of my life and has left me with enough fond memories, emails, doodles, and wise words to have him with me even if he isn't here in person.

One recent memory I have was shortly after I graduated, at the 2010 AESS conference in Portland where we presented together. Bill was giving his famous Double Diversion/disproportionality talk to a crowded room. I had heard this speech from him at least ten times but something about this particular delivery was different. It was the most concise, clear, and passionate version I had ever heard him give. It was so evident that he desperately wanted everyone in the audience to understand the patterns he was presenting and do something about it. The whole room was in awe at the end of his talk and I will always remember the woman who came up to me almost in tears telling me I was so lucky to be under Bill’s wing working with him.

What I am most scared about is that he isn't here to teach and inspire so many future generations of Environmental Studies majors, but I have to be confident that all of us will be motivated, now more than ever, to continue his work.

Bill, you always told me that I had to remember that you knew me before I was famous. I am going to do my very best to make you proud.


Beautiful Student Op-Ed: "Beloved Professor, Environmental Crusader Dies"

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 10, 2011

Opinion Editorial, Daily Nexus
By Michael Gillooly
Published on January 10, 2011

It’s not too often you meet someone whom you consider extraordinary. Sometimes you get the opportunity to meet someone whom you greatly admire, a personal hero or national figure for instance. Sometimes you don’t even meet them, per sé; you may hear a speech they deliver, or simply pass them on the street. Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to sit in their lecture hall for a quarter.

My environmental studies professor inspired me. William Freudenburg was a respected leader within his field, working tirelessly toward environmental protection and increasing public knowledge about environmental problems. He didn’t preach his opinions in class, and he didn’t tell us what to think. He didn’t demoralize us with projections of “doom and gloom” for the future, as many environmentalists seem to. Every day, he examined environmental problems from a practical perspective, and delved into the structural factors that have contributed to them. In doing so, he discovered solutions.

My professor spent the last years of his life battling cancer. He acknowledged this on the first day of class, noting that he may have to miss lecture at some point due to medical appointments. At the time, I observed him to be extremely thin, with a cane; he was unable to stand for the entirety of lecture, preferring to sit in a chair at the lectern. It was clear that his disease was terminal, and that it was slowly taking its toll on him, but that’s all any of us knew about it.

Yet, despite this tragedy, my professor continued to teach. He decided to continue teaching for as long as he could, doing what he loved most. I heard it in his voice everyday. At the end of the last two lectures, professor Freudenburg broke down into tears. He cared so deeply about the topics we discussed. He knew that we all have the power to change the world in whatever way we see fit, and he set himself on spreading that message to the world and getting every one of us to see what he saw one class of undergraduates at a time … while there was still time.

He passed away on Dec. 28, merely 3 weeks after he delivered his final lecture. I’m told that he died peacefully, in the company of his family.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from William Freudenburg, it’s that one person can make a difference. One person can see something that he doesn’t like, or that he thinks can be better, and change it. I haven’t decided what my impact on this world will be yet; I haven’t found my great cause or calling. All I know is that I’ll choose wisely, and I’ll try. I promised an extraordinary man that I would.

Michael Gillooly is a third-year political science major.

To read the article as posted on the Daily Nexus website click here.

From Susie Mannon

Shared by Susan Mannon on January 10, 2011

Bill was among my favorite professors in graduate school at UW-Madison.  I took a class from him called "Writing to Get Published" -- or something like that.  He walked me through my first article submission and my first (among many) article rejections!  Among the things I learned from him was how to be persistent in the world of publishing and how to be confident that my research mattered. 

Without question, Bill's encouragement and wisdom helped me advance my career as a sociologist.  But my favorite memory of Bill was more personal.  One day, he invited various graduate students to his house in Madison for a BBQ.  His son Max had just been born and we passed him around the room, taking turns holding him and playing with him.  At one point, Max started crying and Bill urged me to pass him off to Dana Fisher, who did a much better job of calming Max down than I did!  While she rocked Max back and forth, I picked up a photo album.  In it were pictures of Bill and Max sleeping together in the morning -- one picture taken each day since Max had been born.  The pictures tracked Max's growing newborn body and Bill's unbounded love and affection for his son.  I will always remember these pictures when I remember Bill.

Bill's dedication to the importance of social science understanding

Shared by Richard Appelbaum on January 9, 2011

I didn't know Bill personally, at least not well - although our paths and interests intersected at many points over the years, going back to when he and my close friend Harvey Molotch worked together on coastal oil issues.  This was long before Bill joined UCSB. Paradoxically, we became closer during his last year, when our paths began to cross more frequently: for example, we served on a dissertation committee together, I ran into him at the International Sociological Association meetings in Goteborg, Sweden, last summer (his deepening illness never seemed to slow down his intellectual pursuits or travels).

Our most revealing point of contact, however, came (to me) out of the blue: Bill approached me perhaps 9 months ago and asked if he could nominate me to be a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Bill's reason: to increase the presence and participation of social science Fellows among the large majority who came from the natural sciences, in order to increase our collective voice and perhaps bridge what CP Snow had called, more than a half century ago, the "two cultures." Bill managed the entire process to its successful fruition, which involved, among other things, writing a detailed justification and getting the endorsement of two additional Fellows to initiate the process. It was labor-intensive and time-consuming on his part, at a time when he was undergoing (and not responding to) chemotherapy, and surely was aware of his future prospects. I could not imagine how he found the time or energy to do this, given the personal, professional, medical, and psychological challenges he was then facing.

Bill pursued this for purely professional reasons - because he believed the voice of the social scientist should not be lost in the crucial scientific debates, particularly over environmental issues, that humanity faces today. He gave me a challenge, one that hardly compares with the challenges he personally faced at the time. I hope not to let him down.

Thank you Bill. I, with so many others, will miss you.

Bill's generosity of spirit

Shared by Kathy Halvorsen on January 7, 2011

Bill is one of the founders of our field, contributing so much diverse, high quality scholarship on so many topics...

But I will always remember him more as an exemplar of a scholar in his generosity to young professionals, his relish for the work, and his irreverence in the face of power.

I have known Bill from RSS and ISSRM for many years.  Early in my career, we presented in a session together.  He didn't really know me, but nonetheless went out of his way to encourage me to publish the work I presented and to send him those publications.  I did.  His encouragement meant a lot to me.

I didn't get the impression that there was a lot of ego there - just a sense of joy and passion for our collective scholarship.

A couple years ago, my colleague, Alex Mayer, and I enlisted Bill's and Rick Krannich's help in putting on NSF-sponsored ISSRM sessions on water-related social science work.  More than one NSF program officer was in attendance.  Bill and Rick came through with invaluable contributions and they were great sessions.  However, at one point, Bill launched into a not very politic critique of how NSF was allocating social science research funding.  He was, of course, right.  But Alex and I went a little pale watching the faces of the NSF program officers from whom we hoped to eventually get funding.  In the end, that was Bill - irreverent and willing to speak truth to power regardless of the consequences.

And that is the Bill I will remember - honest, generous, funny, and a wonderful example of the type of scholar that I will continue to strive to be.  Bill, you are sorely missed and deeply appreciated.

Kathy Halvorsen

Michigan Technological University

Great Bill Obituary/Article From SB Daily Sound

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 6, 2011

........ He fought a long battle against cholangiocarcinoma, a form of cancer, but succumbed to it in the comfort of his Santa Barbara home three days after Christmas. 

Everyone who knew Freudenburg called him Bill, even his 10-year-old son.

When you listen to friends and family speak of the renowned environmental scholar, you don't hear about an ordinary man.

You hear about a force...........

View the rest of this great article online at the Santa Barbara Daily Sound - click here

Words from UCSB's Chancellor Yang

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 5, 2011

Sad news - Professor William Freudenburg

January 5, 2011
Dear Colleagues:
I am saddened to share with you the news that Professor William Freudenburg passed away on December 28, at home with his family. Professor Freudenburg exemplified tremendous courage and grace in his struggle with bile duct cancer; despite his illness, he never wavered in his passion for teaching and research, and for making a difference in our world. Our hearts go out to Bill's wife, Sarah Stewart, and their son, Maxwell, and to the rest of Bill's family and many friends. We will miss him greatly. In his honor, our campus flag will be lowered to half-staff on January 22.
Dr. Freudenburg joined our campus in 2002 and held an endowed chair as our Dehlsen Professor of Environmental Studies. He was a core faculty member in our Environmental Studies Program, and held an affiliated position at our Bren School of Environmental Science and Management as well as in our Sociology Department. He encouraged his students to think deeply about the relationship between society and the environment; in his immensely popular "Introduction to Environmental Studies" course, it was not at all uncommon for his 400-plus students to applaud at the end of one of his inspiring lectures. In addition to his teaching and research, Professor Freudenburg also played a key leadership role in our campus's sustainability efforts.
Although he received numerous awards throughout his career, one of the most meaningful to him was being voted an "Outstanding Professor" by our students. I had the honor of attending a public lecture he gave on campus just two months ago, where he discussed his new book, Blowout in the Gulf: The BP Oil Disaster and the Future of Energy in America, and talked about the lessons we could learn from such disasters. I will always remember how the packed crowd at Broida Hall gave him three standing ovations at the end.
Professor Freudenburg was internationally recognized for his expertise on coupled environment-society systems, including his research on resource-dependent communities, the social impacts of environmental and technological change, and risk analysis. He also authored three books on oil exploration and production. He served as President of the Rural Sociology Society and as President-Elect of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, an organization he helped found. His commitment to professional service also extended to positions with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Sociological Association, and the National Academy of Sciences, among others.
On November 6, 2010, our campus held a special symposium, "Freudenfest," in honor of Dr. Freudenburg's pioneering contributions over several decades to sociology, environmental studies, and society. Many colleagues, former and current students, and friends from across the nation joined us to pay tribute to Bill. They praised not only his remarkable achievements, but also his caring nature, his incisive wit, his dedicated mentorship, and his wisdom that he so freely shared with others. The many lives he touched will always be a very important and meaningful aspect of Bill's lasting legacy.
We will be holding a celebration of Professor Freudenburg's life on Saturday, January 22, at 1 p.m. at the UCSB Faculty Club. I invite you to join us in honoring the memory of our dear colleague and friend.
Henry T. Yang

A teacher to the end!

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 5, 2011

For more than two years Bill fought a courageous battle with his disease, continuing to teach his "Introductory to Environmental Studies (ENVS 1)" course, mentoring numerous graduate students, speaking at national and international conferences, and even co-authoring a book on the recent oil blowout disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, all while on medical leave and undergoing surgical procedures and ongoing treatments. Bill's positive and immense impact on students, staff and faculty of the Environmental Studies Program, UCSB, and elsewhere cannot be overstated. He will be greatly missed by all who were fortunate enough to meet him.

From Louise Fortmann

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 3, 2011

The first time I remember interacting with Bill Freudenberg was when I threatened to burn down his garage if he didnt send me his long-overdue book review. Luckily he did and I didnt, so I avoided going to jail for arson. Despite that low starting point starting point, Bill has been a wonderful colleague for many years. His work has informed and inspired many, laying down a bright path in environmental sociology. He is intellectually and personally generous (as I know from my own experience). I also treasure his sense of humor.

From Carla Trentelmand

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 3, 2011

Dr. Freudenburg is one of a small but rather amazing cadre of sociologists who have made immense and lasting contributions to natural resource and environmental sociology. As someone whose grad school days are still very recent, I can testify to the number of classes where I was introduced to Bill's work--and to the diversity of his work found on those course syllabi. If someone were to conduct a study to examine the number and wide variety of theses and dissertations with Freudenburg citations in their reference sections, it would be a very impressive inventory indeed! These many contributions to our subfield ensure that Bill's legacy will last a very long time--and natural resource and environmental sociology is much richer because of that fact.

From Naomi Krogman

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 3, 2011

One of the greatest gifts we can give to others is our attention.  Despite Bill’s large contingent of graduate students across the world, hundreds of contacts he makes weekly with his colleagues, devotion to high quality teaching, and  fleet of scholarly admirers who seek him out, Bill managed to give some of his attention to me and my work.  I was not Bill’s graduate student, I have not published with Bill, and we have never worked at the same institution.  Yet Bill is the person who prompted me to publish my first article in the American Sociologist, invited me to submit an article from my dissertation to a special journal issue he was editing (and gave me a generous extension given it was at a time I had just given birth to my first child), and went over a set of reviews with me once that had me stalled in revising a manuscript.   At each step he provided detailed recommendations about how to go forward, with a very healthy dose of humour at every turn that allowed me to take it all less seriously.  At every conference we both attended Bill continued to urge me to share my scholarly work, asked me hard questions, made comparisons with what he was working on, and played with ideas.  His encouragement and advice led to more early productivity for me, and this led to a professor job that I still happily hold today at the University of Alberta.  I feel deep gratitude for the impact Bill has had on my career, through the “ask-for-nothing-in-return” gift of his attention.

Beyond his intellectual and career guidance, I have always admired Bill’s amazing wit, self-effacing jokes, well-placed sarcasm, beer-drinking camaraderie, clever tact with those he disagrees with, and kindness to graduate students by giving attention to what he thinks has redeeming value, rather than dwelling on criticism. Ah, there has been so much laughter with him at conferences!

Several years ago, Bill toured a house my spouse and I were building in Edmonton when he came to our department as a distinguished visiting speaker.  His attention to the house design led us to add a set of French doors.  These French doors have windows that bring in sunshine every day to an otherwise dark basement room.  That sunshine, that attention, continues to make a difference, in my home, in my career, and in my life.  

Thank you, Bill.  Thank you so much.  I hope this weekend, and your reflection on what is said about you, lets you feel a lot of that sunshine you’ve given me.     

From William Burch

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 3, 2011

Hi Bill, some thoughts before this huge storm closes in on far north Maine.

Bill arrived at Yale with an openess and almost naive wisdom.  Not what we usually get from our students who often lack a certain hubris. Bill did not come with answers but questions posed as if we were all in a shared learning effort.  He really wanted to know. As GH Mead might say, his conversation of gestures demonstrate that his work should matter in both the intellectual and the human sense and that was a responsibility he accepted.  Accepting the responsibility of not knowing everything and that one was responsible to give back can easilty charm me.  He had that diffident approach that seemed to include all of us in his private vision.

He wisely chose Kai to be his major professor but I never felt left out but was part of his intellectual team. I followed his career with pride. He continued to make a difference in a world I had given up on. 

I am glad that someone thought the academics could be saved from themselves. Bill as friend and colleague you have helped me to continue to believe the life of the mind can be the light of possibility that was a big rock to push up the hill and I did not need to attend the meetings.  Love,  billb

From Tom Rudel

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 3, 2011

Dear Bill,  I wanted very much to be at the Freudenfest on November 6th, but I have a trip to Ecuador for that week which I am pretty much stuck doing.  I did want to express a heartfelt thanks for the long years and many exchanges between us.  They began when we were in graduate school, and one particular episode remains vivid in my memory, some thirty-five years after it occurred.  It says something wonderful about your human qualities.
You, Bill Elliott, and I had sought refuge from the summer's heat in New Haven by hiking and camping in New Hampshire's White Mountains.  At the end of the first day we camped on the banks of the Pemigewasett River. I hauled out my fly rod and began catching small brook trout, one after another, and returning some but not all to the stream.  After watching this carnage for about half an hour, you christened me the 'butcher of the Pemigewasset'!  The term stuck with me, I am sure, because you were exactly right, and I knew it.

This little incident illustrates some things about you that I have come to appreciate more and more over the years.  You see things with exceptional clarity and speak truth to power.  The examples are almost too numerous to mention.   The 'double diversion' is a particularly prominent example of this skill.  You choose your words well.  I don't know how many phrases you have added to our environmental sociological vocabulary, but the number is large.  This is what intellectual leaders do.

I have valued our intellectual interchanges more than you can know, and I hope that they continue for many years and months to come!
Hang in there and have some fun!  - Tom  

From Lisa Wilson-Wright

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 3, 2011

I'm sorry I can't attend this Symposium to Honor of Bill in person.  I've asked Ken Keating to read this letter for me, and I promise to keep it short.  I first met Bill the summer of 1994.  We'd talked on the phone earlier that year when I was applying to the UW and he was helping me to secure a fellowship. But, I'd never actually met Bill until my father and I went to Madison to apartment hunt in July. We first tried to meet at Bill's office in Agriculture Hall, but when that didn't work out, Bill invited Dad and me to join him for a beer at a local sports bar down the street.  Thus began a seven-and-a-half year mentorship and friendship-and plenty more opportunities to drink beer.

I'm sure many people will say this, but I will add to the chorus . Bill Freudenburg was always my tireless advocate. He secured grants to help fund my research, provided many opportunities to present papers and give talks, and frequently made me first author on our joint academic papers and articles. At professional meetings, he went out of his way to introduce me to others in the field and to make sure they knew what a bright student I was.  All of this meant a great deal to me.  I was the first person in my family to receive a Ph.D., and I had no idea how to navigate graduate school or the professional world of academia.  Without

Bill, I would have had a much harder time making my way through the UW Madison.  I was honored to have him walking the stage beside me when I received my diploma.  Bill's advocacy did not stop after I graduated. As many of you know, I did not continue a career in academia.  After a post-doc in Hayfork, California ... sorry Bill, I never did get Hayfork into the title of the article; I hope you aren't too disappointed.  After a post-doc in Hayfork, I found myself in Boston, which is not the best place to be a natural resources sociologist. Bill helped me contact professors in the area with specialties in natural resources and the environment, but no one was hiring rural sociologists in greater Boston at that time. Thanks to my dear friend Monica Nevius, another UW-Madison graduate and former student of Bill's, I ultimately landed a wonderful job with a consulting firm specializing in energy efficiency and renewable energy.  And this explains why I've asked Ken Keating, a colleague in the field as well as a fellow Bill advisee, to read this letter. 

Even though I'm no longer studying mining communities, attending RSS meetings, or submitting papers to Society and Natural Resources, I use lessons Bill taught me every day-from avoiding the split infinitive and going "which" hunting, to finding patterns in the data, reasoning through challenging issues, and applying creative solutions to perplexing problems.  I am a confident public speaker thanks to the opportunities Bill gave me to present my research to audiences large and small.  I would not be where I am today without the support, mentorship, and friendship of Bill Freudenburg.  Thank you, Bill. 

From Kai Lee

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 3, 2011

Bill is the only person I know to whom I would apply the words ornery and kind simultaneously.  He advertises himself as a curmudgeon but that is, as with most advertising, an exaggeration.  Bill has been a friend, a champion in the academy, a colleague, and a collaborator.  We have basked in the light cast by Sarah and Max and the way they enrich his life.  Bill is clear and strong in his conclusions and attendant beliefs.  We have sometimes disagreed: our experiences and judgments are inevitably different.  He can be ornery, and the work of bringing Bill around has been arduous and educational.  By educational I mean that he has occasionally changed my mind-as I have his.Those vigorous debates have been good ones: civil, fair-minded, tough.  Bill is a kind debating partner, but one who comes hard at you rather than condescending.  I like that. We have more chapters to go.  Put up yer dukes, man!

From Kai Erikson

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 3, 2011

Those who study such things tell us that memory is a very fallible source of information.  Our memories are filtered through the screen of what has happened in the years since.  They are shaped and reshaped by wisps that appear out of nowhere and enter scenes in which they do not belong. 
I have been asked to speak of Bill Freudenburg as a student.  And I sure have memories.  They begin with that of a lean young man from the West coming into my office for a meeting he had arranged and sitting there for what seemed to me a long pause, as if he was waiting to find out why I had summoned him.  When he did open his mouth, wondrous things came out in urgent bursts.  He spoke of research conceptions and intellectual sensibilities and ways of approaching the study of social life that were not - to say the very least - native to the academic climate of Yale back then. 

I plan to write more about those things.  But as you can tell, that memory trace is fused with half a dozen others.  It was the first of dozens of others, and it was the start of a personal and collegial friendship that has lasted for close to forty years now. 
But to go back to the matter of memory.  You can see my problem.  This recollection, the one that begins my book of remembrances, depends on people being able to imagine Bill Freudenburg not saying anything for an entire minute or even two.  That is asking too much of you.        
So, fearing that you would not trust that memory, I turned to the historical archives and came up with a letter I wrote Riley Dunlap thirty-three years ago.  That's a long time ago.  We used carbon paper in those days to make copies.

"I think that Mr. Freudenburg is about to become an exceptionally able sociologist.  I would say this about him no matter what his interests in
the field, since he is a person of immense talent and vast intelligence; but he seems to have decided to concentrate his energies in the general
area of environmental sociology, and in that field I assure you that he  is already on the verge of becoming a major sociological voice."

It is hard to describe the special qualities that Mr. Freudenburg brings to his work.  I won't spend any time telling you that he is unusually
bright, unusually perceptive, and unusually energetic, because that is evident right away.  But what is less evident at a glance is his

He knows how to move back and forth from rigorous survey research to a freer kind of field ethnography as the need arises.  He is
primarily interested in what we used to call "pure" research, but he is not afraid - or embarrassed - to devote long stretches of time dealing with the
applied aspects of the work he does.  And perhaps most important, he  knows how to look into the human mind as well as into the structures
of society when studying the relationship between them.

He is far and away the best student I have known in his general area, and he belongs in the top rank of all the students I have ever known
regardless of their areas of study."

You folks are all celebrating Bill out there in the warmer winds of California. This is my way of joining you.  I love him too.  But just for one brief

moment, I want to celebrate myself, too:  That was a third of a century ago.  I sure got that right, didn't I? 

From Carla Trentelman

Shared by Eric Zimmerman on January 3, 2011

Dr. Freudenburg is one of a small but rather amazing cadre of sociologists who have made immense and lasting contributions to natural resource and environmental sociology. As someone whose grad school days are still very recent, I can testify to the number of classes where I was introduced to Bill's work--and to the diversity of his work found on those course syllabi. If someone were to conduct a study to examine the number and wide variety of theses and dissertations with Freudenburg citations in their reference sections, it would be a very impressive inventory indeed! These many contributions to our subfield ensure that Bill's legacy will last a very long time--and natural resource and environmental sociology is much richer because of that fact.

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