Dr. James Dungan Smith is remembered as a great mentor, advisor, scholar, a brilliant and versatile scientist, and a loving father, grandfather and husband.
Jim was born in Southeastern Massachusetts in 1939. His achievements throughout his life were largely due to his broad style of thinking, persistent and expansive energy, his ongoing strive for excellence, and his exceptional oratory skills. During a research position at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, he was recruited by the University of Washington's Department of Oceanography, where he began an exciting chapter in what would turn out to be an internationally renowned scientific career.
Jim spent 1967-1991 at the UW, in what was then the Geophysics Program and the Department of Oceanography. Throughout his tenure he served as an associate professor, professor, chair of both departments and was later a departmental advisor. Jim was known for developing new instrumentation for measuring fluid flow and sediment transport in the deep ocean, continental shelves, rivers, and land surfaces and many of his major research elements were recognized globally.
Jim's magnanimous energy, innate curiosity and vast ability to retain facts and information were traits that enabled him to leave an impact on all with whom he interacted. He was a source of inspiration producing a large cadre of successful graduate students across several academic departments. He inspired through his delightful tales and spirited discussions on science and science philosophy. He believed in moving forward with a firm evaluation of the past; and his extensive, diverse life and career are proof.
Jim was a staunch advocate of the environment and a champion of scientific integrity. He once wrote that "the legacy of an administrator of a scientific team is the lasting improvement he or she provides to that unit". His colleagues and former students are a testament to that belief. At the end of his life, Jim had a vision to continue this trend and generously established the J. Dungan Smith Endowed Graduate Fellowship. This endowed fellowship will carry Jim's legacy forward in perpetuity by empowering Ph.D. candidates to do research in the fields that Jim studied and was so passionate about.
His loss is deeply mourned by his family and all who knew him. He was a beacon shining his brilliant light, profoundly guiding the way for others.
To learn more about Jim's life, his legacy and scientific impact on the University of Washington and across the world, please view his full biography here. Jim's extensive scientific achievements and citations can also be viewed on his Google Scholar page.