Caresse Jackman

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Video: The End of An Era: Pioneering MSU Meteorology Professor Retires

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- The professor who founded Mississippi State’s nationally recognized meteorology program is now retiring.

Dr. Charles Wax introduced the first weather course at Mississippi State back in 1979 and influenced the lives of hundreds of meteorologist across the country.

The long time professor’s path to success started with one step.

“It started out very simply, I got my PH.D and was looking for a job. This was the first one I got. That was 35 years ago next week and I’ve stayed here ever since,” says Dr. Wax.

Dr. Wax introduced the first weather course at Mississippi State back in 1979.

“The things that I saw was broadcast meteorology was typically not trained in Weather, they were broadcast journalist and they were doing what I like to call ‘rip and read’ and they would rip the forecast off and read it to the people. And it was very effective and so we thought perhaps we could do better. And it started out very modestly with a couple of courses and we ask the broadcast journalist to take those courses, then we hired more people, created more classes and then it began to just bloom and went nationwide and since about the late 1970s, we’ve cornered the market on broadcast meteorology here,” says Dr. Wax.

It’s a program that eventually grew into a national powerhouse. Bruce Thomas was one of Dr. Wax’s first students back in the 1970s. He says Dr. Wax’s impact on meteorology helped pave the way for thousands of careers.

“It’s always fond in my heart the 3 years I spent here from 1979-1982 meant a lot to me, I traveled a long way to be here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than in this library, honoring Dr. Wax who has touched thousands of students and meteorologist all over the country. This University has more students studying broadcast meteorology than any other university in the United State. And that’s something.”

Jackie Hudson was also a former student of Dr. Wax.

“Dr. Wax was so engaging when I was a student here I had him in 2004 and if you already loved weather, he pulled you in and if you weren’t interested, you grew to love weather because of him. He cared about each and everyone of this students..he brought humor and interest into Weather which is already an interesting topic. MS State is going to have a hard time without him because he’s going to be hard to replace,” Dr. Wax.

As he says goodbye to Mississippi State, he’s happy, knowing his meteorology and science legacy will continue to grow and expand.

“I think that the legacy I would like to have is, ‘he was interesting what he did, he did a pretty good job at it, he was really slow and steady’ because I’m certainly not a hot dog or anything, but working day after day, year after year, a lot has been accomplished and I’m really proud of it,” says Dr. Wax.

Dr. Wax’s colleague, Dr. Mike Brown will succeed him as State Climatologist.