David Block '76
2015 Recipient Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service
David Block has an innate gift for mobilizing people collaboratively around a worthy cause, which then has an immediate impact on those he has set out to assist.
Anyone who knows David is aware that his roots are deeply embedded in both the Carroll and global communities. David graduated magna cum laude in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in geography. He went on to earn his Master’s degree and Doctorate in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1978 and 1983, respectively. He taught in Maryland for nine years and then returned to Carroll in 1988 as an Associate Professor of Geography. In his tenure at Carroll, he served as Chair of the Geography, Environmental Sciences, and Life Sciences departments, plus served several years as manager of the university’s Greene Field Station, as Chair of the Student-Faculty Ethics Committee and as a member of the International and Off-Campus Programs Committee and Spiritual Life Task Force.
David taught a wide variety of classes in geography and environmental science at Carroll and provided experiences for students both on and off campus. Of note, he organized and led annual New Cultural Experience Program (NCEP) field studies to such diverse places as Alaska, East Africa and Central America. He retired from full-time teaching in 2010, but hasn’t slowed down.
David has shared his knowledge of geography and the environment through the years in many ways. His twelve years of volunteer work as Waukesha’s Cooperative Weather Observer for the National Weather Service involved daily reports as well as frequent news releases and phone interviews. He has also organized natural history tours in Costa Rica and Belize for Waukesha County’s Retzer Nature Center, judged and moderated several of the state’s National Geographic Bee final competitions, served as a volunteer leader for many Girl Scout “Leave No Trace” canoe trips, and delivered numerous academic and travel presentations at local schools and retirement centers. As Chair of Missions at his church, David has organized recent mission trips to East Africa, and has participated in church building projects in Kenya and the Dominican Republic. As an extension of this ministry, his family has housed several international students from Africa and assisted them in adjusting to social and academic life in the United States.
Years of building partnerships and international experiences reached a peak in 2011, when David connected the Carroll community with the East African village of Ribe, Kenya. He assisted in a Carroll campaign for matching funds with students, faculty, staff and alumni which brought safe drinking water to the drought-prone rural village. He also assisted in last year’s campus appeal, which provided funding for electricity in eight schools and two churches in Ribe, plus initiated a reforestation project in the community. Prior to Carroll’s involvement in the village’s water and energy projects, David and his family oversaw construction of a new primary school in Ribe.
Through the years, David has served generously with many other local organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Hope Center’s Project Move program, Salvation Army’s meal serving and bell ringing programs, Hearts in Motion’s medical mission organization, and Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree Christmas gift program. His wife, Terese, adds that elderly widows he has known “could not wish for a better son” because he is always there to help with yard work, medical appointments, pet care, house repairs or just to provide a listening ear.