2016 Inductee

Steve Running, Ph.D.

University of Montana
University Regents Professor of Global Ecology at the University of Montana, Missoula, MT.

Dr. Running has been a recognized national leader on ecology and climate change issues for over 20 years. In 1989, he developed the algorithm that NASA satellites use to observe global plant production and its role in climate change and has continued to play a significant role working with NASA to address these issues. He currently chairs the NASA Earth Science subcommittee and is a member of the NASA Science Advisory Council. He also served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for which he and other members of the 2007 IPCC received a Nobel Peace Prize. In 2014, Dr. Running was a lead author in the U.S. National Climate Assessment. 

At the University of Montana since 1979, Dr. Running has focused his career on creating ways to better understand the impacts of continued climate change. As part of his global science work, he has visited every continent, including Antarctica, and has lived in other countries a half dozen times. A popular speaker, he has published more than 280 scientific articles and two books. A Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, in 2014, Steve was designated one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” in Geosciences. 

Dr. Running’s concerns about our changing climate are personal as well. A lover of nature and the outdoors, his life has primarily been spent out West. A native of Washington, Steve’s family recreation consisted mostly of camping, hiking, and skiing throughout the Pacific Northwest. 

Dr. Running received his B.S. and M.S. degrees at Oregon State University, Corvallis, and his Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, arriving in Missoula directly after his Ph.D. work. Not surprisingly, Steve’s main hobbies are outdoors – camping, hiking, biking, skiing, hunting, windsurfing, and kayaking. He notes that he started windsurfing in 1984 and is now one of the very few windsurfers left on Flathead Lake. His free time is spent at his family cabin on Flathead Lake. 

He is also proud of the fact that he has been a confirmed bike commuter since age 18. In his entire career – including sabbaticals – he has never had a job where he regularly commuted by car! 

“If we continue going on with business as usual, at the end of this century our planet will be dominated by cockroaches, not humans.” – Dr. Steve Running