KOLD Channel 13 chief meteorologist Chuck George has resigned, following a medical leave that lasted longer than two months.
In a KOLD-issued news release, George said he has left to pursue a doctoral degree.
George last appeared on the Marana-based station’s broadcasts June 7. He recorded three farewell messages that aired on KOLD Tuesday.
The latest leave marked George’s second medical leave this year. The first one lasted four weeks and ended May 2. After that leave, he revealed that he has depression.
The most recent absence was George’s fourth since 2010. He took unexplained leaves from Sept. 9, 2011, to Oct. 24 of that year, as well as a five-week break from March to April 2010.
George did not immediately respond to comment on the news story Tuesday afternoon.
“This is the right time for me to pursue my lifelong dream,” George said in the news release. “I want to continue my love of science in the academic community by pursuing a career in teaching and science in academia. It is a tough decision to leave my friends and family at KOLD as well as the wonderfully supportive Southern Arizona community. It doesn’t mean the door is closed from ever being on KOLD again. It just means I need to give my full attention to my Ph.D. pursuit.”
The news release said George has enrolled at the University of Arizona and is applying to other programs. He hopes to get the degree in Arid Lands Management with a focus on Communication of Science.
George, who earned a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s of engineering in water resources from the University of Arizona, has worked at KOLD since 2003.
“Chuck is known for teaching viewers about the science of weather,” KOLD Vice President and General Manager Debbie Bush said. “He made weather informative and fun in Tucson. He helped hire a great team of meteorologists that, together, made KOLD the leader in severe weather coverage. He was a great team member and we’re going to miss him. We also know that this is what he wants and we want to support him.”
Bush said KOLD will be searching for a chief meteorologist, including internal and external candidates.