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This project represents four years of part-time research and investigation. It started as something simple, a need for a spreadsheet for me, as a new Department Chair in January of 2020, to assemble the tenure and promotion timelines of existing faculty based on their employment starting dates. It then expanded to document every Geoscience faculty member, which revealed so many interesting stories along the way. Once it began it was hard to stop, with the research taking on a mind of its own as it meandered down the historical archive of the Department. And why stop with people? Buildings? Fair game. Cold War history? Radically radioactive! Geoscience softball team’s losing record? Shameful. It was all hoovered up and regurgitated in this document, such as it is.

In compiling this history, I would like to emphasize a few facts. First, because I only joined the Department in 2003, I was not a participant in these events, and had to rely on historical archives and documents. Chief among them are articles in the Rebel Yell, the Las Vegas Review Journal, Department newsletters, Department archives passed along from Chair to Chair, and the Board of Regent’s meetings archives. Many photos were found in the UNLV Special Collections. Second, insight into the developments of the Department relied heavily on the memories of the many founding faculty members who were able and willing to speak with me. Chief among them are Gene Smith, Rod Metcalf, the copious written record of ‘tribe scribe’ Dave Weide, Fred Bachhuber (whose position I filled when he became College of Science Dean), and Wanda Taylor, among others. To these esteemed colleagues, I express my sincere gratitude.

The nature of the archival record is incomplete; so too is this history. For example, there was much more information on tenure-track faculty than on staff or students, making the search for complete information challenging. I therefore had to focus mainly on faculty, roughly covering the time period from inception through the mid- to late-1990s when the PhD program began. This focus and timeline required omitting a lot of information, including a discussion of the actual research done by our faculty and students. Finally, any omissions not relating to the archival record or errors are my own, and for them I apologize in advance.

Controlled Subject

History; Universities and colleges


Geology | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

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50600 KB




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