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W&M Geology turns 50!

50th Anniversary Celebration of the William & Mary Geology Department

Thank you everyone for coming out for our Birthday Party! Links to additional exciting morsels are included towards the bottom of the page. 

  Friday afternoon and evening generations of geology alumni trickled back into the department for our open house reception. Slide shows filled with pictures accumulated throughout the history of the department played in room 219- our snazzy new classroom (where the library used to be) and in room 230, where we also displayed research posters. It was quite a treat to see how geology fashion (and hair!) has evolved over the decades.  Near the bar in the mineralogy lab, we showed off a tantalizing taste of our newly donated mineral collection.   It was an exciting juxtaposition of new attractions and old friends. 

Russ McDaniel ('79), Mary Horan, and Rich Walker ('79) collaborate during the field trip.  Saturday morning, a motley crew of seasoned W&M geologists headed to the field. Gathering at the crack of... 9:30, some 70-something of us piled into a convoy of passenger vans and departed for Belle Island at the Falls of the James River, in Richmond. A classic W&M geo field trip haunt, Belle Island was a fitting destination indeed. We enjoyed a multitude of geologic perspectives, as Belle Island has much to offer regarding hydrology, geomorphology,  mineralogy/petrology, and structure.  We admired the expansive Petersburg Granite outcrop and explored the processes by which the James River removes bedrock (abrasion, plucking, and cavitation), as well as the age of the intrusion, the protoliths for the boudins contained within, and just where this granite has been over the last 300 My. (Buried kilometers underground or partying with dinosaurs?)

Ken Bick, Christine Turner ('71), Trudy Phelps ('71), Hope Huntington ('71), Renee Davis ('73), James Cole ('70),  and Mark Blanchard ('75) enjoy the banquet. (Photo Credit Heather Macdonald)

  After returning to Williamsburg, it was time to look sharp! About a hundred W&M geology alumni and guests, donning our "geology crisp" attire (I don't know exactly what that means, but we looked good), converged upon the uber classy Brinkley Commons in the business school for a banquet bonanza. I must say, we clean up well! Chuck Bailey kicked-off the proceedings, regaling us with a rendition of the department's history in true Chuck style. Chuck was followed by a slew of eloquent and entertaining speakers including Ken Bick, the founder of the department, Jerre Johnson, another of the original W&M geology faculty, current faculty Heather Macdonald and Rowan Lockwood, and a cross section of geology graduates from across the decades. 

  One thing became increasingly apparent as more and more people shared their thoughts about W&M Geology- the department is now, and always has been, a tight-knit and supportive community of fantastic people, with a strong emphasis on research, field experiences, and academic rigor, that consistently produces quality geoscientists (regardless of whether or not they continue into a career in geology). 


{{youtube:medium:left|_5mcPhs1v1U, A commemorative video from the weekend }}

A video commemorating the weekend's festivities. 

-Chelsea Jenkins ('11)

If you missed it, or if you'd like to relive all the glory, check out the:

50th Anniversary photo gallery
Chuck Bailey's blog post 
W&M news story