Professor Hans Meihoefer

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 16:14
Hans Meihoefer

Hans-Joachim Meihoefer, Professor Emeritus of Geography, passed away on Aug. 24, 2021. Hans was born in East Prussia on Aug. 9, 1939. With other members of his family, he walked from his home there across Germany to the Allied Zone during World War II, and then came to Detroit.  He studied at Wayne State and completed a Ph. D. at the University of Washington, where his dissertation dealt with cartographic perception and design. He joined the SF State faculty in 1968. He was chair of the Department for nearly a decade. During a series of sabbaticals, Hans pursued international and domestic research in agriculture and food supply. He promoted the development of an environmental studies focus, now the BS in Environmental Science.  Hans emphasized the importance of field work and made sure that the department curriculum included field experience; he even bought the department a new van — the "Hansmobile" -- when he retired in 2006. He loved teaching Physical Geography, Cartography, and Environmental Problems & Solutions, even Geography of Garbage, but his favorite class was Agriculture & Food Supply, which he continued to teach well after retirement just for fun. Students were particularly engaged by their field trips to farms that Hans had long studied and whose farmers he knew well. Students remember Hans as an inspirational professor whose charisma and passion for teaching and students, for map design and environmental protection, made his classes a transformative experience. For many, he was "that one teacher I'll never forget."  

Hans left many legacies, but central to his values was experiential learning from well-organized field trips. The Hans Meihoefer Student Field Experiences Fund is being established to commemorate his impact on students’ lives and to continue to advance his legacy of memorable field trips so that future students can be assured of these transformative experiences in the years ahead. The Fund will ensure access and support for field-based experiences for students in Geography and Environmental Science courses by providing stipends to individual students to cover field trip costs, by helping fund field trip expenses to reduce costs for all students, and by funding graduate student assistants for undergraduate field trips.  We have a goal to endow the fund if the fundraising effort reaches the level of an endowment. We welcome contributions of any amount from all of you, especially those who benefited from Hans’ memorable field trips!

Give to the Hans Meihoefer Field Experiences for Students Fund  

If you would prefer to send a check, please send a check in favor of University corporation and  mail to Anjali Billa, Office of Univ Development, ADM 153, 1600 Holloway Ave, SF CA 94132  (Note that it’s for Hans Fund.) For stock donations, please email