Some Milestones-History of the Department

The Earth and Environmental Sciences department has undergone a variety of changes in its almost fifty years of existence. Below is a timeline of how we have grown as a department over the years since our formation in 1965. 

  1. 1961
    1. Oct
      1. 1961-1965

        Geology courses taught in Department of Civil Engineering by Owen White and Paul Karrow, and in the Department of Science by Physics professor Harold Ellenton. 

  2. 1964
    1. Oct
      1. 1964

        Science Forward Planning Committee recommended to Science Faculty Council that a Department of Earth Sciences be established.

  3. 1965
    1. Oct
      1. 1965 (Year of formation)

        Department of Earth Sciences established July 1, 1965 in Faculty of Science with Paul Karrow (Quaternary Geology) as Chair; Ted Appleyard (Petrology) and Christopher Barnes (Paleontology); Barbara Beaulieu as secretary; and Brian Robinson as part-time technician.  First students admitted in September 1965 in new three-year General Earth Sciences program.

  4. 1966
    1. Jan
      1. 1966

        Donald Salter (Clay Mineraology) and David Lawson (Sedimentology) joined as faculty members, Peter Fisher as full-time technician, and Mary Copp as Teaching Assistant. First departmental vehicle, International Harvester Travelall, acquired and shared with Department of Biology.

  5. 1967
    1. Jan
      1. 1967

        Gwilym Roberts (Economic Geology) joined department.  New Honours B.Sc. program in Earth Sciences (Geology Option) admited seven students.  Ildi Munro joined as second departmental teaching assistant and Peter Russell hired as second full-time departmental technician.  First B.Sc. in Earth Sciences granted to Brian Bornhold.  Secretariat for the Geological Association of Canada established at University of Waterloo, with Chris Barnes as Secretary.

  6. 1968
    1. Jan
      1. 1968

        The Biology-Earth Sciences Museum opened in February in commemoration of Canada Centennial; 1266 off-campus visitors came in first 10 weeks.  Bill Bond as President established Geology Club (later to be called WATROX) and holds first party at home of Gwilym Roberts.

  7. 1969
    1. Jan
      1. 1969

        M.Sc. program in Earth Sciences with Specialization in Environmental Geology received provincial approval.  First field trip to Whitefish Falls occurred.

  8. 1970
    1. Jan
      1. 1970

        Bob Farvolden appointed Chair of Department of Earth Sciences and began development of graduate program in hydrogeology and the setting up of a drill rig and drilling operation with driller Sam Vales,  who joined in 1971.  Photograph is Petrology Class in 1970.

  9. 1971
    1. Jan
      1. 1971

        Three new faculty members appointed: John Cherry (Groundwater), Peter Fritz (Geochemistry) and Emil Frind (Quantitative Methods). 

  10. 1972
    1. Jan
      1. 1972

        Ph.D. program in groundwater and engineering geology received approval in February from province.  John Greenhouse (Geophysics),  M. Kalin (Engineering Geology), Eric Reardon (Mineralogy), and technician Bob Drimmie joined department; three support staff in office.  Blagoje Novakovic is first Earth Sciences to convocate. There were around 100 undergraduates and 30 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students in Earth Sciences at this time. 

  11. 1973
    1. Jan
      1. 1973

        Honours B.Sc. in Earth Sciences Co-operative stream admitted first students

  12. 1975
    1. Jan
      1. 1975

        Murray-James Verge awarded first Ph.D. degree in Earth Sciences.

  13. 1976
    1. Jan
      1. 1976

        Bob Farvolden became Dean of Science and Professor Chris Barnes became Chair of the department. Honours Earth Sciences Co-operative program changed into two new streams: Applied Earth Sciences and Applied Earth Sciences (Geotechnical Option).  Annual tuition fees regular stream: $728.80.

  14. 1977
    1. Jan
      1. 1977-1979

        Professors John Gale and Peter Fransham (Geological Engineering), Ian Gibson (Structural Geology), and Jim Barker (Organic Geochemistry) joined department.

  15. 1978
    1. Jan
      1. 1978

        Chemistry 1 Building renamed Earth Sciences-Chemistry Building (ESC).

  16. 1981
    1. Jan
      1. 1981-1986

        Professors Mario Coniglio (Stratigraphy), Maurice Dusseault (Rock Mechanics), Shaun Frape (Geochemistry), Alan Morgan (Quaternary Geology), David Nobes (Geophysics) and Sherry Schiff (Geochemistry) join department; Barry Warner (Quaternary Paleoecology) and Ed Sudicky (Physical Hydrogeology and Groundwater Modelling) as NSERC-University Research Fellows. Katherine LaHay joins department as Senior Instructor.

  17. 1982
    1. Jan
      1. 1982

        Institute for Groundwater Research established under direction of John Cherry. Geological Garden of the Earth Sciences created to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the University of Waterloo and was renamed the Peter Russell Rock Garden in 1999 in honour of Peter’s recognition as Honorary Member of the University.

  18. 1985
    1. Jan
      1. 1985

        Departments of Earth Sciences and Civil Engineering received approval from Engineering Accreditation Board for establishment of Geological Engineering Program and replaced Applied Earth Sciences (Geotechnical Option).

  19. 1987
    1. Jan
      1. 1987

        John Greenhouse became department Chair.  Waterloo Centre for Groundwater Research established as one of seven Ontario Centres of Excellence.

  20. 1988
    1. Jan
      1. 1988

        Professor Tom Edwards (Isotope Geochemistry) succeeded Peter Fritz following his departure.

  21. 1990
    1. Jan
      1. 1990

        Tony Endres (Geophysics) and Shoufa Lin (Structural Geology) joined department.

  22. 1993
    1. Jan
      1. 1993

        Bob Gillham became department Chair; Bob Farvolden retired from the university and Dave Rudolph joined department.

  23. 1996
    1. Jan
      1. 1996

        First Farvolden Lecture and Symposium.

  24. 1997
    1. Jan
      1. 1997

        Ed Sudicky became department Chair. Bob Gillham and John Cherry awarded NSERC Industrial Research Chairs in Groundwater Remediation and Contaminant Hydrogeology, respectively. Bob Linnen (Petrology) joined department.

  25. 2000
    1. Jan
      1. 2000

        Jim Barker succeeded Ed Sudicky as departmental Chair; Sudicky and Blowes awarded Canada Research Chairs in Groundwater Remediation and Quantitative Hydrogeology, respectively.  Photograph is Earth 490 trip, December 2002 to Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

  26. 2003
    1. Jan
      1. 2003

        Department moved into new quarters in the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology Building.

  27. 2004
    1. Jan
      1. 2004

        Mario Coniglio succeeded Jim Barker as Chair.

  28. 2005
    1. Jan
      1. 2005

        Mario Coniglio appointed Associate Dean Undergraduate Students and Bob Gillham resumed duties as department Chair. China 2+2 established with arrival of first students from six partner universities in China.

  29. 2006
    1. Jan
      1. 2006

        Carol Ptacek (Contaminant Hydrology and Geochemistry) Martin Ross (Applied Quaternary Geology) joined department.

  30. 2007
    1. Jan
      1. 2007

        Barry Warner appointed department Chair. Walter Illman (Groundwater) joined department and Sherry Schiff named University Research Chair in Environmental Geochemistry. University celebrated 50th Anniversary and placed commemorative rock in Peter Russell Rock Garden.

  31. 2008
    1. Jan
      1. 2008

        Name of department changed to Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.  Honours Earth Sciences (Environmental Specialization) replaced by new Honour Environmental Sciences (Geoscience Specialization). 

  32. 2010
    1. Jan
      1. 2010

        Reimer Family Gallery opened in Earth Sciences Museum.  Alan Morgan named 3M Teaching Fellow. 

  33. 2011
    1. Jan
      1. 2011

        Philippe Van Cappellen arrived as Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ecohydrology.

  34. 2012
    1. Jan
      1. 2012

        Nandita Basu, Carl Guilmette, Brian Kendall, and Lingling Wu joined department. Cobalt Discovery Mine officially opened in Earth Sciences Museum. Katherine LaHay retired and succeeded by Jennifer Parks.  WATROX joined the Geological Association of Canada as official Logan Chapter. First Gwilym Roberts Memorial Scholarship awarded.

  35. 2015
    1. Jan
      1. 2015

        Department celebrates 50th Anniversary.