The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies (DGES) at Carleton University is mourning the loss of Dr. Doug King.  Doug passed away on May 12 at Maison des Collines in Wakefield, with his wife and children at his side. The determination and good humour that he brought to his cancer diagnosis and treatments was very familiar to those who knew Doug. 

Dr. Doug King

Doug joined DGES in 1992, following his education at the University of Toronto and a faculty position at Ryerson University. He built an active and highly collaborative research program using remote sensing and geospatial analysis to study the composition, structure, and health of vegetation. The technical and theoretical aspects of his research contributed important knowledge and management applications in areas such as forest ecosystem response to natural and human disturbances, quantifying landscape biodiversity and modelling/mapping of wildlife habitats. He launched a major effort to understand the effects of the 1998 ice storm on vegetation structure in the Gatineau Park. His work was always centered around mentorship and training of his students. This led to an impressive global network of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and collaborating scientists who have worked closely with Doug, in DGES and the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research lab. Over his career he directly supervised 7 postdoctoral researchers, 12 PhD, 29 Master’s, and 73 Bachelor’s students’ theses. This research was tightly integrated with his teaching activities, and he was instrumental in the development and delivery of the Geomatics program and many key courses in DGES, especially in Remote Sensing.

Dr. Doug King’s Retirement Celebration May 2, 2019. Surrounded by some of those he mentored over the years.

Doug is also well-known and respected across the Carleton community thanks to his numerous contributions to academic service and governance. He served DGES as Undergraduate Program Supervisor, Graduate Program Supervisor, and Chair, and in these roles he worked tirelessly to advocate for DGES, his colleagues and our students. He was particularly valued for his active efforts to facilitate collective, consensus-based decision-making, and involving all members of the university community including staff, faculty, and students. Many colleagues from other Carleton units know Doug through his roles on the Graduate Faculty Board, his co-leadership in reviewing the Cyclical Program Review process, his principled stance on negotiating tenure and promotion standards, and for his coordination of several cross-disciplinary hiring processes. Above all, Doug is remembered for his utmost kindness, integrity, respect and generosity towards his colleagues and friends across the university community and beyond.

Happy Medium at Kaffe 1870, Wakefield QC, May 2019

Those who had the pleasure of working closely with Doug will remember his passion for music and drumming in particular, and enjoyed many versions of his band Rustbuckit at shows on and off campus. He could also be found checking out the department’s hockey pool stats each morning at the office water cooler – eager to engage in humorous banter or even vigorous debate about the previous evening’s games and whether or not he would be able to maintain his first place standing in the pool! He was a big supporter of departmental social events, including many summer golf outings where Doug would wander the woods looking for errant golf balls. He was also known to occasionally ride his bike down from the Loeb Building at lunchtime to whack a few tennis balls around on Carleton’s outdoor court with colleagues.  He clearly enjoyed his scorching passing shots or aces, although with his usual grace. Upon retirement, he took up competitive tennis in a youngish-seniors league.  

Doug at Gatineau Park.

Due to the current pandemic, we will not be able to gather in person to remember and celebrate the life of Doug King.  One of the alternatives we would like to share is an opportunity to share messages about Doug.  These could be destined for department members, or the family, or both.  Messages for the department will be distributed electronically.  Messages for the family will also be compiled into physical form, analogous to guest signing books at in-person memorials.

As we develop plans that are compatible with public health restrictions, we will share them with friends and colleagues.  Members of our extended community who wish to be notified of further developments of these plans can send an email to, and we will make sure to add you to our mailing list.