Peter Oliver reflections

Bill Dennison ·
26 November 2012

The sad news that Dr. Peter Oliver passed away on 20 November 2012 arrived during our week of Thanksgiving. There was some solace in learning that after many months of medical insults (e.g., chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.), Peter’s last moments were not painful. We also can give thanks for having had the wonderful opportunity of working with Peter over the past 15 years.  He was a powerful force of nature, a man so full of life that it is difficult to imagine a world without him in it. In previous blog articles (1 & 2), I described Peter’s retirement lecture from the International WaterCentre earlier this year.  You can watch Peter’s retirement lecture online at the following URL:

Peter at his home in Maleny, QLD, working on the

The International WaterCentre posted a very nice tribute on their website:

Peter was many things to many people, and accumulated more descriptors than anyone I know, including teacher, social scientist, scholar, researcher, activist, pioneer, visionary, mentor, friend, singer/songwriter, philosopher, catchment manager, and pirate. Each of these descriptors has real meaning, and just by reading this long list of different facets, you begin to realize that Peter was a multi-faceted gem of a person. The light that shone through Peter’s exuberant multi-faceted personality served to enlighten those of us lucky enough to know this special man.

Bill and Peter
Bill Dennison and Peter Oliver at the International WaterCentre.

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

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  • Anita Hillis-Krause 9 years ago

    Dear Bill,

    What a fine and fitting tribute to our dear friend. We have felt so blessed to have stood in this man's light and to have called him "friend". We cannot help but reflect on the fact that the earth is a much better place than when Peter Oliver first arrived here and his legacy will live on through all of the associates and students that have had the honour of hearing his passionate message and have picked up the mantle of his great cause.

    We cannot help but think of you and our friends there in Maryland, as well as around the world, and our loss.

    we are better for having known him.

    Warmest regards,

    Anita and Peter Krause

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