Geosciences department celebrates 50 years at Trinity


Photo by Eva Littman

For many years, the faculty of the geosciences department has been brainstorming a way to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of its existence at Trinity. Due to strong alumni connections, the department will be hosting a weekend full of events for alumni and students on Feb. 19-21.

The celebration weekend will be an opportunity for current geosciences majors to meet and learn from alumni who graduated with the same degree.

“We want our students to participate as much as they can. The alumni want to see what our students are like now, and I think it would be a great experience to talk to people who have graduated many years ago and see what life after Trinity is like with a geosciences degree. It’s a great opportunity for them,” said Diane Smith, professor and chair of the geosciences department.

The celebrations will begin Thursday, Feb. 19 with a reception in the CSI atrium. Friday will include programs presented by faculty, student research posters and a dedication of the rock garden and McGannon Memorial. Saturday, Feb. 21, will be a field trip to the Cave Without a Name. The cost of attending these events for students has been subsidized by the Edward C. Roy, Jr., fund to encourage their attendance.

The rock garden, located between the CSI and Marrs McLean buildings, has been in the works and will be completed in time for the celebration weekend.

“The students have had opportunities to help with the design and creation of the rock garden, so it’s great to be part of the school and department’s history by helping to create such an interesting and visible space on campus,” said Leanne Stepchinski, senior geosciences major.

In 1995, the department changed its name to geosciences from geology.

“We view geosciences as a great undergraduate liberal arts degree. Geosciences get exposure to physics, chemistry [and] computing; it’s a really broad-based science, so our students can go off and do different kinds of things,” Smith said.

Around 50 alumni have registered for the weekend so far, including graduates from the class of 1965 and 1966, the state geologist of Texas and alumni with their own environmental consulting firms.

“The geo department has always had great ties with its alumni. By meeting them, I hope to create the beginnings of a network that might lead to a job or some other opportunity down the line,” said Tristan Solano, junior geosciences major.

The celebration with alumni and students hopes to celebrate the department and all the ways it has evolved over time.

“The field of geosciences is one that can change rapidly over a short period of time. We now have entire classes about things that weren’t even discovered 50 years ago, so there is a lot to celebrate about geosciences in general,” Stepchinski said.