In Memoriam - Jonathan W. Bulkley (1938 - 2019)
Jonathan W. Bulkley, Peter M. Wege Endowed Professor Emeritus of Sustainable Systems, died peacefully on July 14, 2019, at home with his wife Trudy, and dog, Maggie, by his side. Professor Bulkley was a beloved member of the SEAS, U-M, and Ann Arbor communities and his presence will be missed by the many who knew him.
In the late 1980s, collaboration with Greg Keoleian, then a recently minted Ph.D. and now a SEAS professor, led to the establishment of what was then known as the National Pollution Prevention Center, and eventually became the Center for Sustainable Systems. Bulkley also was the first faculty member to be named the Peter M. Wege Professor of Sustainable Systems.
During his 43-year career at U-M, Professor Bulkley educated thousands of students, served on numerous university committees and on state-wide and national scientific committees, and published widely in the areas of resource policy and sustainability in water resources.
Upon his retirement as professor emeritus in 2011, Bulkley had these words for the U-M community: “I want to emphasize that it’s been a privilege to work with so many bright men and women all these years,” he said. “It’s been a really good run.”
REMEMBERING DR. BULKLEY
“Jonathan loved Bach, as so many mathematically inclined do. The words associated with one of his favorites—‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ personify Jonathan: ‘Fire of life impassioned, Striving still to truth unknown.’ Jonathan never lost his passion for life or his search for truths still unknown.”
— Rosina Bierbaum, Professor
“Jonathan was a person who was comfortable with his situation, not egotistical about his accomplishments, and strong in his commitment to the university. I’d see him walking through the halls of the Dana Building wearing a white shirt and bow tie, saying hello to everyone he encountered with a slight bow.”
— Jim Diana, Professor Emeritus
“If we had to sum up Jonathan’s career in a few words, I would say Jonathan Bulkley was a true gentleman and a scholar who advanced sustainability through his water policy research, the many students and future faculty that he trained, the policies he championed, and his unwavering support of his colleagues and staff to enable their success.”
— Greg Keoleian, professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Systems
“Jonathan Bulkley was the best example of all that Michigan stands for. He was very committed to his home state, his home town, and the Great Lakes region. Jonathan achieved at the highest scholarly levels, but he was also engaged with the world and he made a difference.”
— Mark Van Putten, Executive Director of The Wege Foundation
“I became one of Jonathan’s first master’s students, and worked for him as an RA and as his TA in water policy, a course he taught for more than 40 years. He was a great mentor, gently guiding, valuing my perspectives, operating in a manner that leveled the power differences between professor and student and always, always, wanting the very best for you.”
— Steve Yaffe, SEAS professor and alumnus