Adnan Akyüz, Beloved NDSU Professor, Passes Away from Cancer

The NDSU community mourns the loss of Adnan Akyüz following his passing to cancer on Jan. 5, days before his 63rd birthday on Jan. 8. Akyüz was deeply admired by students, peers and many others for his enthusiasm and positive energy to both life and his work in weather and climatology.

Many students got to know Akyüz through his course ‘The Wonders of Weather.’ The course enrolled hundreds of students in the semesters it was offered. Akyüz first arrived at NDSU in 2007, joining the School of Natural Resource Sciences.

“I will fondly remember Adnan’s positivity even in the face of a cancer prognosis that was terminal,” said Greg Lardy during the announcement to NDSU via email. “My last conversation with him in December focused on that—even in the face of a terminal illness, he could find something to be grateful for.”

“During that conversation, he fondly recounted the ways his former students had been reaching out to him during the fall semester looking for ways that they might help him. Those small acts of kindness by his former students touched him deeply,” said Lardy.

Akyüz’s passion for weather went beyond the university. Most notably, he served as the North Dakota State Climatologist. This role involved using climate information for economic, environmental and safety benefits through education, climate monitoring and research. Akyüz has also served as the American Association of State Climatologists President between 2018 and 2020.

Akyüz also loved bringing weather education and safety to children in the community. Throughout the years, he could be seen in classrooms giving demonstrations about the dangers of severe weather, among other topics.

Originally from Turkey, Akyüz previously got his Ph.D. and worked at the University of Missouri and received his master’s from Istanbul Technical University.

Traveling, rock climbing, camping and canoeing were other passions of Akyüz. 

Akyüz is remembered by his wife, Tanya (Henke), and his two children. The family has asked for memorial donations to be given to the Akyuz Family Memorial Fund with the NDSU Foundation to support students undergoing cancer treatment.

This year’s Day of Honor at NDSU will also remember Akyüz, as well as the other staff, faculty, and students lost this year on Feb. 13.

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