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History of the Department

The Geology Department at William & Mary began in 1961 under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Bick.  Three other faculty members joined the department:  Dr. Bruce Goodwin in 1963, Dr. Stephen Clement in 1964, and Dr. Gerald Johnson in 1965.  These four are affectionately referred to as the founders of the department. Their leadership and vision established the basic geology curriculum.  Their dedication to students and to each other nurtured a close community of mutual respect that continues today.

Over the years, the department expanded to nine faculty and offers a wide spectrum of courses, including earth’s environmental systems, surface processes, paleontology, geochemistry, hydrology, and sedimentology.  The department has long served William & Mary by teaching legions of students at the introductory level while also attracting a large group of majors.   Independent senior research projects became part of the curriculum in the early 1970s and continue to be the capstone experience for students.  Geology alumni are an impressive group that has gone on to successful careers in academics, business, law, industry, and government.  Since its founding, field trips have been an integral part of the geology curriculum.  The annual Regional Field Geology course has taken faculty and students to the Colorado Plateau, California, Florida Keys, New England and Nova Scotia, Big Bend, and Hawaii. Recent courses have also included international field locations in Norway, the Bahamas, and Oman.
The department has resided in three different buildings on campus:  in the basement of Bryan Complex from 1961-1974, in Small Hall from 1974-1995, and in Tercentenary Hall from 1995-present.  Tercentenary Hall’s name was changed in September 1997 to McGlothlin-Street Hall. With the construction of the new Integrated Science Centers, the department has been able to expand into the top floor of McGlothlin-Street Hall and now occupies two floors of the building with select lab space in the ISC.