In the air or on land, Chelius has propelled meteorological students, researchers


Carl Chelius had a pretty exciting job as an assistant professor and senior research pilot for the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences – flying Twin Commander 680E planes for research – but what he loved most was watching. ” teach and interact with students.

In the 1980s, Chelius carried out experimental missions for the department, often at extended altitudes as low as 500 feet above land and as far as the Caribbean. He also taught until his retirement in 1994.

He first logged on to Penn State after serving in the United States Marine Corps as a naval aviator from 1957 to 1968. The helicopter pilot completed two combat tours in Vietnam – delivering “bullets, beans and bandages” to ground troops – in 1964 and 1967.

Building on his engineering degree from the United States Naval Academy, which he obtained in 1957, Chelius set out to earn a “quick master’s degree” in 1968 and never left.

Due to his life experiences, he found himself older than most graduate students and appreciated the bond with the students. This put him on a path of teaching while also leveraging his piloting skills to step foot in the door of college at Penn State.

Seeing the funding issues that students often face inspired him to create the Chelius Family Fellowship in Meteorology from his late mother’s estate. The scholarship is dedicated to “recruiting and / or retaining the best and brightest full-time undergraduate students”.

“I saw this as a way to help recruit and retain the best and brightest in the department,” Chelius said. “I never want to see a great student denied a good education just because they can’t afford it.”

The Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences highlights Chelius’ career and his continued contributions to learning through his family’s scholarship.

Chelius said he joined a group of excellent faculty members who did cutting-edge research while inspiring their students to do the same. When he started, there were only seven or eight faculty members, but he has seen it grow in numbers and areas of expertise.

“We were a thin bunch,” Chelius said. “And we still sent some of the best students to some of the best graduate schools in the country.”

Contributions to the Chelius Family Meteorology Fellowship will advance “A Great Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a targeted campaign that aims to elevate Penn State’s position as a public university of foreground in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to meet the three key imperatives of a 21st century public university: keeping the doors of higher education open to hard-working students, whatever their financial well-being; create transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impact the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Great State of Pennsylvania for 21st Century Excellence,” visit


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