The University of Georgia was founded in 1785 and thus was the first state-supported institution of higher education in the United States. However, it did not offer classes until1801 and thus only graduated its first class in 1804. Its function there after was disrupted by war, most notably the U.S. Civil War and World War II, and occasionally impeded by its own administration. Nonetheless, today it is the flagship institution of the University System of Georgia and an R1 research university (one of the “Doctoral Universities –Very High Research Activity”in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education).
Geology has been taught at the University of Georgia since 1823, and the modern Department of Geology was founded in 1961. This document provides a history of the teaching of geology at the University. It consists of six parts, of which Part I is a lengthy narrative history. Part II is a list of faculty members who have taught geology at the University of Georgia from 1823 to the present, and Part III consists of lists of heads, associate heads, and staff members. Part IV provides information about course offerings through time. Part V presents biographies of some of the earlier professors, and Part VI presents auto-biographies of some of the later professors.
This document’s account of events before 1961 has little practical significance. Its account of more recent actions may help future faculty members see why some decisions were enacted to generate positive results and/or what mistakes were made in the past. Its biographies and autobiographies of faculty members after 1961 may help students and young faculty members to see the expectations and possibilities of a professorial career more broadly than otherwise imagined. The biographies and autobiographies may also let young faculty members learn from the strengths and achievements (and weaknesses and failures) of their predecessors. Perhaps the document will also entertain alumni, students, and even others unaffiliated with the University, and it may remind them that the teaching of geology at the University of Georgia – from the 1820s to the present – been enhanced by various forms of generosity and support from people like them.