Stephen Cunha, Ph.D.

Outstanding Professor Award, 2017
Department of Geography

I want our students to believe that curiosity is important, that the world is far harder to understand than it first appears, and that intellectual humility is a vital grace.

Professor Stephen Cunha, Department of Geography, Outstanding Professor Award Recipient uses a passion for geography to help students analyze the challenges to sustaining Earth’s vastly diverse natural and human systems. His rousing lectures in demanding introductory and senior-level courses incorporate photographs, blowguns, glacial flour, and myriad other elements from far away lands. His scholarship and creative works empower teachers at every level. A former student writes, “Your pictures and narrative changed my perception of human beings and turned me into a compassionate person.”  UC Davis Professor Jack Ives states, “I think the most effective way to categorize Stephen‘s remarkable and many sided career is for me to designate him as the latter day successor to Alexander von Humboldt himself. I know of no single person who can claim so many aspects of teaching, research, advising, contribution to environmental issues, support of minority mountain peoples, and the progress of society at large. The breadth and depth of his contributions is inspiring.”