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Nancy Hultquist stands in front of a piano holding a violin

Nancy B. Hultquist, retired Central Washington University (CWU) geography professor, died March 30th, 2021. During her geographic career she was an active member of the American Association of Geographers (over 50 years), the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE), and the Washington Geographic Alliance (WGA). Nancy is remembered fondly by students, friends, and colleagues. She was quick to assist junior faculty and devoted countless hours to helping students find employment.

Like many geographers, Nancy was drawn to the field early in her academic career. Also, like many geographers, she had many non-academic interests including bowling, raising Brittneys, and playing the fiddle.

Born in 1943, Nancy grew up in Atlanta, GA where she lived near a 32-lane bowling alley. There she worked and became good at the sport. (Nancy holds the record of High Series (679) for Women in Moscow, ID.) She completed her undergraduate degree in 1965 at Georgia State University and then on to Graduate school, first at the University of Cincinnati and then on to the University of Iowa. Along the way she married John (also a geographer) in 1969. From the farming country of Iowa came the first Brittany. Then the University of Idaho beckoned (1974), and the three headed further west.

The Moscow university provided a split position that Nancy and John shared. Along the way she gained knowledge and teaching experience using computers to make detailed maps. Like so many of her contemporaries, Nancy started out with key-punch cards and eventually moved on to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Countless K-12 teachers were introduced to the early iterations of making maps and GIS through NCGE workshops she participated in with Paul Baumann.

In 1988, Nancy joined the CWU geography department as the first full-time, tenure-track woman faculty member. There, she became involved with an Army initiated (GRASS) GIS program. Initially the program used CWU faculty to do mapping for the Army’s Yakima Firing Center/Training Center. Nancy expanded the program to include undergraduate GIS classes and was instrumental in moving the program along. Her popular classes grew, and she soon had students presenting their GIS projects at professional meetings. It is little wonder that, as an advisor, she supervised more interns than any other geography department faculty.

Other than her love of geography and dogs, (their kennel name – Cedaridge Brittanys – was known throughout the Nation) Nancy was also a talented musician. She first played the fiddle at the age of 4 and, as an additional outlet for her boundless energy, joined a group named Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends. Heart issues from a childhood case of Rheumatic fever ended her academic career, but only interrupted her fiddle playing. Major heart surgery came in 2009. Her surgeon told her she was spared because there was more for her to do on Earth.

As she recovered and gained stamina, Nancy began to take a larger role in the music of the Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends. They played at elder care facilities in Ellensburg and other venues in the area, especially at the Adult Activity Center. The photo accompanying this text is from this period. She considered the entertainment provided to the residents of the valley in these facilities one of her best experiences.

Nancy was known as a great teacher and an even greater supporter of student success. She maintained a jobs list of employment opportunities across the Pacific Northwest which currently has over 800 subscribers. Many CWU alumni credit her tireless work to helping them launch their career. The list will continue, serving as a living memorial to her impact. Please take a moment to remember Nancy B. Hultquist as a shining light to students, colleagues, and friends.