Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

In memoriam: Monty Hempel (1950–2019)

University of Redlands President Ralph W. Kuncl, Chaplain John Walsh, Provost Kathy Ogren, and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Kendrick Brown write to the University community in the wake of Environmental Studies Professor Monty Hempel’s death. Here is the text of their December 5 memo.

It is with deep shock and sadness that we share the news that Dr. Lamont (Monty) Hempel, Hedco Chair in Environmental Studies and the Director of the Center for Environmental Studies, passed away last night, following a brief illness.

One colleague speaks for all of us this morning, with her reflection: “We have lost a pillar of the environmental community, a towering intellect, and a kind and gentle friend, my heart grieves with you all.”

Monty joined the College of Arts and Sciences faculty in 1999 and, as the Hedco Chair, directed the transformative growth of environmental programs at the University, including the Department of Environmental Studies in the College, curriculum development in the former Whitehead College, and the Redlands Institute. Monty chaired the Sustainability Council of the University, too, in recent years. 

Monty’s teaching, research, and public service interests focused on environmental science and policy, with particular emphasis on issues of climate disruption, marine environmental protection, and international environmental governance. His professional work, strongly interdisciplinary, was guided by the goal of pragmatic idealism.

In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. Hempel was a documentary filmmaker, specializing in short and feature works about coral ecosystems, sustainability, wilderness preservation, and biodiversity. He was also the founding president of Blue Planet United, a small 501(c)(3) educational organization that produces environmental films and a quarterly news journal about human population, consumption, and sustainability.

We are deeply affected by this loss within our University family, and we send our condolences to his entire family.  May he and his work for environmental justice live on in our lives as the best way to memorialize Monty and perpetuate his passion and purpose.

The Department of Environmental Studies observed a moment of silence at 12 noon today. Students are encouraged to check with the faculty and staff in Environmental Studies with any concerns.

Additional information about a service for Monty in the new year will be forthcoming.

Monty’s family requests that donations in his memory be made to: The Coral Reef Alliance, 1330 Broadway, Suite 600, Oakland, CA.