Port Huron native David Zurick has been across the globe to places like Nepal, India and Tibet as an academically trained geographer and self-taught photographer. Yet, Zurick traces his footsteps back to his first degree at St. Clair County Community College.
“It was the first step along the path,” he said.
A Port Huron Northern High School graduate, Zurick, 64, just wrapped up a 31-year career as a geography professor at Eastern Kentucky University last year.
In 2017, he earned the prestigious Nautilus Silver Award for his book, Morning Coffee at the Goldfish Pond: Seeing a World in the Garden. The autobiographical work was one of three awarded in the lyrical prose category, and one of 209 recognized across 43 categories. Past Nautilus winning authors include the likes of Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra, M.D.
For his latest book, Zurick spent a month or two every winter for the past five years photographing the majestic painted towns of Shekhawati in rural Rajasthan, India. A glimpse of the book, A Fantastic State of Ruin: The Painted Towns of Rajasthan, can be found on YouTube.
“My work bridges science and art,” he said “Much of it centers on the Himalaya mountains. My most recent photo book dealt with an amazing set of beautiful ruins in a handful of small desert towns in Rajasthan, India.”
Zurick earned his associate degree in business administration from SC4 in 1975. He went on to Michigan State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors in geography in 1978 and his master’s degree in geography in 1981.
He then traveled to Hawaii where he earned his Ph.D. in geography from the University of Hawaii in Manoa, Honolulu, under fellowship at the East-West Center, Honolulu.
Zurick presently lives in rural Madison County, Kentucky, with his wife and two cats and maintains that SC4 served as a great place to explore what he wanted to pursue as a career.
“I attended SC4 because it was close to home, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do or study,” he said. “I was able to complete the general education requirements I needed in a convenient and helpful setting with quality instruction. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at the time. SC4 got me going in the right direction.”