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Why Give to Geology?

A Letter from the Department Chair

Dear W&M Geology Community,

 Greetings from the ‘burg! It’s been an action-packed year, for both W&M and W&M Geology.

 We celebrated the centennial of women at William & Mary with a phenomenal two-day event in October. The main event was a symposium, featuring six alumnae spanning six decades of W&M Geology, followed by receptions and a networking lunch. One of the highlights was the “Wall of Fame,” an AWG and Geo Club exhibit of portraits of W&M Geology alums who identify as female that completely covered the walls of the second floor of McGlothlin-Street Hall. Thanks to all of the alums, students, and friends who made this celebration an incredible success!

 This year, we had the good fortune to be able to hire Eston Worthington (’18) as the inaugural postbaccalaureate technician for the department. Eston did an incredible job helping out with a variety of research projects, from identifying fossil shells on the mid-Atlantic continental shelf, to developing Matlab models. They also TA’d the Geol 310 trip to California and made themselves completely indispensable. We wish Eston the best of luck as they head off to graduate school in paleontology and geoscience education at Western Washington University next year!

 Speaking of California, Greg Hancock led the spectacular Geol 310 trip in May, in collaboration with Eston, Linda Morse, and Jim Kaste. What the trip lacked in decent weather, it more than made up for in spectacular geology. From -280 ft elevation in Death Valley to +11,000 ft elevation in the White-Inyo Mountains, W&M students explored much of the geology that California has to offer including cinder cones, Soda Lake, and the San Andreas fault. As usual, the department clocked a lot of travel miles last year, with Chuck Bailey leading a sequel to his Rock Music Oman trip, and Brent Owens and Chuck leading the Virginia Field Conference trip in the southeast Piedmont Province (  If you remember your W&M fieldtrips fondly, please consider donating to the department. We’d love to be able to give every W&M geology student an opportunity to experience these trips and travel the world!

 We had a lot to celebrate in the department this year. Jim was awarded a prestigious Plumeri award, Nick Balascio published eight papers including one in Nature Communications, and Chris Hein was awarded tenure. Congratulations to Chuck on the publication of his Structural Geology: Principles, Concepts, and Problems textbook with Oxford University Press! If you attend the Geological Society of America conference this year, be sure to check out the day-long event honoring Heather Macdonald’s many contributions to geoscience education at two year colleges, co-organized by Callan Bentley (‘96). Finally, we all owe Greg a huge thanks for his leadership serving as Chair!

 We’re trying a couple of new approaches to the newsletter this year. When we emailed alums for news at the beginning of the summer, we asked you all to tell us whether you prefer receiving the newsletter electronically or in print version. The vote was overwhelmingly for electronic, with alums citing both cost-savings and sustainability, so we’re going electronic (using a link to W&M’s secure file-sharing application)! So saying that, if you’d prefer to receive this newsletter in print version, please email me ( and we’ll make it happen. Starting with next year’s newsletter, we’d like to include a page thanking alums, students, parents, and friends for donations to the department. If you’re donating, but would prefer that we not publish your name, please let us know!

 Be sure to check out all of our geology community events for the next year! We hope you can join us in person—if not—we’d love to hear from you. There are lots of ways to stay in touch with us. We’re debuting a new LinkedIn group (W&M Geology Community) and Twitter feed (@WMGeology), in addition to our long-term Facebook (W&M Geology) account and Chuck’s blog ( Please keep sending any earth science-related job and internship information our way—many many of our current students intern and work closely with our alums. Feel free to reach out and let us know how you’re doing!


Best wishes,

Rowan Lockwood