Dr. Arthur Getis (1934-2022)



by Dr. Geoff Hewings

Dr. Arthur Getis came to Illinois in 1977 and served as department head until 1983, when he assumed a leadership role in a Social Science organization within the College of LAS. While at Illinois, Art, his wife Judy Getis and colleague Jerome Fellmann wrote An Introduction to Geography that is now in its thirteenth edition. He left in 1990 to lead a new PhD program at San Diego State University.

Art was an innovative spatial statistician; his work with Dr. Keith Ord resulted in the development of the well-known Getis-Ord statistic, a measure of values in neighboring locations (over some defined distance) over the values of all observations. He also co-edited the Journal of Geographical Systems for a number of years.

getis geography textbook

He was a very active member and supporter of the Western Regional Science Association (WRSA), establishing the Getis-Ord Lecture in Spatial Analysis as a feature of the annual meeting. Current GGIS Department Head Dr. Shaowen Wang delivered the 8th annual Getis-Ord Lecture in 2021.

Dr. Getis received many honors for his work including the Walter Isard Distinguished Scholarship award from the North American Regional Science Association, the Regional Science Association International Founders Medal (2012), and Distinguished Scholarship honors from the American Association of Geographers. He was elected a Fellow of the WRSA, Regional Science Association International, and the University Consortium for GIS.

Further reading: "Place and Time: The Right Place at the Right Time" published in the RSAI November 2012 Newsletter