Here’s the latest in Scott’s reality blog series documenting his quest to be a famous weatherman. In his last post, Scott colorfully described his first foray into weather education which did not end well. Read all of Scott’s previous blog posts.

Open Letter of Apology

Dear Drs. Gordon and Visbeck,

My name is Scott Zakheim – I am an alum of Columbia College, class of 2005. As a sophomore at Columbia, in the Spring of 2003, I enrolled in your class “The Earth’s Climate – 3003Y.” You both have probably erased me from your collective memories a long time ago (I don’t blame you – I am a terrible stain on your teaching careers).

So just to remind you: I was the immature sophomore who enrolled without taking a single weather pre-requisite class, who skipped every Wednesday class post-spring break, was dead silent when I did show up, made a mockery of the final presentation (I presented on hurricanes and incorporated NOAA’s spinning hurricane graphic but offered little else), and completely bombed the final by handing four pages of illegible text and graphics (you generously gave me a 29% on the final and a C in the class).

Despite the fact that I was completely unqualified to take the course and should have never been allowed to step foot in your classroom to begin with, I still showed a great level of disrespect to both of you by not taking the coursework seriously, by taking a very liberal approach to the class absence policy, and by putting little to no effort on both my final presentation and final test. Both of you, world-leading climatology experts, should never have been exposed to such childish behavior and irreverence – you deserved much much better.

I must also apologize to you both for trying to take advantage of your tag-team teaching arrangement. Like the kid I was, I thought I could manipulate a classic substitute teacher situation. I am sorry to you Dr. Visbeck for my 50% attendance rate while you taught us. I should have risen to the course’s challenge and embraced your presence, not rejected it. I am sorry to you Dr. Gordon for belittling the arrangement you put in place while you were on your Antarctic expedition. I should have relished the opportunity to learn from not one, but two weather experts.

Last, and most importantly, I must tell you that I am a reformed man. I have matured (kind of).

I have also developed a great passion and zest for climate studies and the weather, and have begun my pursuit to become a TV meteorologist. As you will see from my blog, I intend to pick up where I left off with you (but learn from my mistakes) and enroll in an online undergraduate certification course in Weather Studies at Penn State’s online global campus.

I could not have begun this pursuit, my weather dream, without first apologizing and receiving your forgiveness for my actions nearly a decade ago. I also beg you both for your blessing and support as I begin this exciting new weather endeavor.

Sorry again,

Scott Zakheim

CC ’05


Professors’ response to my apology


From: Martin Visbeck
To: Scooter Zakheim

I wish you well and that your dream may come true … no hard feelings … Martin

Prof. Dr. Martin Visbeck


From: Arnold L. Gordon
To: Scooter Zakheim

I do remember you. I appreciate your apology, you are forgiven… now move on with your career. By the way, in every class I teach there is often a student who makes no effort; maybe you are at the extreme end, but not all that unique. Arnold L. Gordon…


Well hard to follow those beauties up (besides the required gloating about being on the extreme end of underachievement). Guess now that forgiveness has been granted by these weather immortals, there’s only one thing left to do…

Scott Zakheim website

Scott Zakheim on Twitter (@weatherdream)