NORMAN — Ken Crawford, former Regents’ professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and director emeritus of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, received a major civilian honor from the Korean government Monday.
Appointed as vice administrator for the Korea Meteorological Administration in 2009, Crawford spent years improving and expanding that nation’s weather forecast system.
KMA Administrator Dr. Il-Soo Lee traveled to the states to present Crawford with the Order of Civil Merit Dongbaek Medal and citation, which Lee said is rarely given to foreign individuals.
“Dr. Crawford spared no effort in expanding the KMA and acting as an international liaison. This medal is awarded to those who contribute to the betterment of our society and it is rare for a foreigner to receive it, so I am especially honored to be here to award it to Dr. Crawford,” Lee said.
Crawford spoke fondly of his time working for the KMA and developing close ties to Korean colleagues.
“Few people can bring me to tears like the Koreans I worked with,” Crawford said. “We had tearful moments because we developed a loving, respectful relationship and it was highly productive. I’m so very grateful for this honor,” Crawford said.
Emphasizing the chain of opportunities which led to his work for the KMA, Crawford closed with a quote he said he’s shared with students through the years, that opportunities will come to those who prepare.
“If I could do it again, I would. The Korean experience was very worthwhile,” Crawford said.
Crawford earned his Bachelor of Science in 1966 at the University of Texas in Austin, his Master of Science in 1967 at Florida State University, and his Ph.D. in 1977 at the University of Oklahoma.
He came to OU in 1989, following a 28-year career with the National Weather Service.
During his tenure with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Crawford served four years as a research meteorologist for the National Severe Storms Laboratory, 14 years as an operational meteorologist and 10 years as a senior field manager for the NWS.
Crawford also served as the Oklahoma area manager at the NWS Forecast Office in Norman.