Dr. James R. Carter, Professor Emeritus of Geography-Geology, holds a B.A. in Geology from Indiana University (1958), an M.A. from the University of Maryland (1966), and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia (1973). His doctoral dissertation focused on mapping drought in the southeastern United States, and during his studies he participated in an NSF Tropical Studies Program in Atmospheric Sciences. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he began working for the Indiana Water Resources Commission. He subsequently worked in the Geographic Names unit of the Topographic Mapping program of the U.S. Geological Survey from 1962 through 1968. Upon the completion of his doctorate, he accepted a position at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he taught the atmospheric science and cartography courses. In 1990 he came to Illinois State University as Director of Academic Computing, with faculty status in the Department of Geography-Geology. In December 1991 he taught the first course on campus introducing something called the Internet. He also worked with the College of Arts and Sciences to create LILT, the Laboratory of Integrated Learning and Technology.
Dr. Carter is the author of numerous books and articles. In 1984 his book Computer Mapping: Progress in the 80’s was one of the first works on the topic. His interest in weather and maps resulted in three pieces in Volume 6: Twentieth-Century Cartography. Although he officially retired in 2005, he continues to do research and publish his findings. He is particularly well-known for his work on ice flowers, and in 2013 his research and photos appeared in American Scientist—an article that has been reprinted in three other languages!
He and his wife Diane began their married life in 1960. For three years he served as Chair of the ISU Senior Professionals Board, an organization that involves many CAS faculty through its Academy of Seniors and Mornings with Professors programs—the first ISU retiree to have that title since Dean Charles Bolen founded the organization in 1989.