Alan Morgan, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1991

Earth Sciences

For his colleagues the metamorphosis of professor Alan Morgan from mild-mannered academic to lecturer extraordinaire began in the early 1970s when he travelled to Iceland with a borrowed movie camera to observe a volcanic eruption off the south coast. He had little experience in volcanology and, as far as anyone can remember, no experience as a cameraman or film producer. Nonetheless the film he made of that trip, “The Heimay Eruption” (pr. HI MAY) was to become one of the most successful geological documentary films ever made. A.V. -"audio-visual" to his students-Morgan has been lecturing to large audiences ever since. With some of the most magnificent slides of rocks and landscapes you are likely to see he brings his passion for geology and this planet to high schools, service clubs, public lectures and university classrooms, to audiences of all types and in venues all over the continent. He travels extensively, one might say almost addictively, looking not only for photographs but also for his other passion, fossil beetles. For professor Morgan is also an internationally recognized paleoentomologist and expert on changing climate in the Quaternary (or recent) geological period. He has served as president of both the American and Canadian Quaternary Associations, and he is currently seconded to the Geological Survey of Canada as coordinator of programs on global change. No group benefits as much from Professor Morgan's outreach and travel as our own students, and it is on their behalf that we honour him today. In the classroom, and through the very popular correspondence program that Professor Morgan and his wife have run for many years, thousands of students have been exposed to an energy, creativity and enthusiasm for science that is entertaining as well as instructive. It is appropriate today to include one other example from Professor Morgan's two decades of teaching. Last August he returned to Iceland with most of today's earth sciences graduating class for a two-week field trip which, as their nominations testify, they will not soon forget.