Goodbye to Associate Director Bill Cambray

June 12, 2019 - Tom Dietz

ESPP is sorry to announce the passing of our first Associate Director, Dr. F. William Cambray on 2 June 2019.  Bill served for many years as Chair of MSU's then Department of Geology, now Earth and Environmental Sciences.  He briefly retired in 2002 but returned to service in January 2003 as the first Associate Director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program.

            The early days of ESPP were marked by great enthusiasm on the part of faculty and deans across many colleges and departments.  But, as is usually the case in forming a highly interdisciplinary program, there were divergent taken-for-granted assumptions and strong views about what was proper for the "umbrella" program for environmental research and graduate education. Bill's  deep understanding of how MSU worked, and of the traditions and perspectives of diverse colleges, schools and departments was essential to create a campus wide program.  Equally important was his diplomacy and sense of humor.  Without the trust and respect he commanded across campus, ESPP would never have emerged.

            At the start of one meeting that had the potential to be rathe contentious, he reminded us of Lepidus' speech in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. 

"Noble friends,
That which combined us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What's amiss,
May it be gently heard: when we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds: then, noble partners,
The rather, for I earnestly beseech,
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to the matter."


            He played a vital role in setting the tone for ESPP.  And behind the scenes he provided wise counsel and deep understanding of the diverse interests and concerns ESPP had to reconcile.  He will be missed.  But his contribution to our collective endeavor lives on.