Hall of Fame Member Biographies

James F. Kimpel

James F. Kimpel, Ph.D., was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Denison University in 1964. He then joined the U.S. Air Force and completed their Basic Meteorology Program at the University of Texas in 1965. Kimpel is a veteran of the Vietnam War and was awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious service during his tour in 1968. After completing his Air Force service, Kimpel pursued graduate studies in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin, earning his doctorate in 1973. He was elected a Fellow of the American Meteorology Society in 1969, while working on his master's.

Kimpel has broad experience in leading organizations in the atmospheric and related sciences. He is deeply interested in putting together alliances of institutions and people to tackle complex, multidisciplinary problems. Beginning his academic career at the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology in 1973, Kimpel served as an assistant professor of Meteorology until 1978 when he was named associate dean for academic programs at OU's College of Engineering. While retaining his role as a professor, Kimpel was named director of the school of meteorology in 1981, serving in that position until 1987, when he became dean of the college of geosciences, remaining in that role until 1992. Coterminous with his role as dean, Dr. Kimpel also worked as the director of Weather Center Programs at OU from 1986 to 1994. He was named the senior vice president and provost of the OU's Norman campus in 1992, putting his years of experience at the university to work for the betterment of the entire campus. Kimpel left academia to become the director of NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman from 1997 until his retirement in 2010.

Dr. Kimpel was elected president of the American Meteorological Society in 2000, having been a fellow of that organization since 1989. He has served on numerous boards of directors for national scientific societies, previously chairing the board of trustees of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee for the Atmospheric Sciences, and the National Weather Service/National Centers for Environmental Prediction Advisory Panel, among others. From 1985 to 1988, he served as the president of Applied Systems Institute, Inc. at the University of Oklahoma.

Most recent in the list of Kimpel's many professional commendations include the Charles Franklin Brooks Award from the American Meteorology Society in 2016, given "for decades of faithful service and enlightened leadership in the Society, guiding it to remain vigorous, relevant, and focused on the future." Other awards include OU's Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive in 2005, the OU Regents' Alumni Award and Denison University's Distinguished Alumni Citation, both in 2004, and the OU Regents' Award for Superior University and Professional Service in 1987.

Kimpel's list of academic publications is formidable by any standard. He has authored or co-authored dozens of papers a range of subjects in the atmospheric sciences, including on how to reduce the costs of national disasters and the development of the national radar testbed, a multifunction phased array radar system designed to vastly improve the ability to predict and track weather systems across the United States.