Commemorative 2015 Farvolden Day Lecture welcomes a packed house

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Earth and Environmental Sciences celebrated their 50th anniversary on Friday with a special Farvolden Day lecture and reception, rounding out the evening with a celebratory dinner.

The Farvolden Lecture Series, hosted by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, was initiated in 1996 as an annual celebration in honour of the late Dr. Robert N. Farvolden. His wife, June, and his daughter, Judy, attended the day’s events.

Prof. Dave Rudolph speaking at the 2015 Farvolden Day Lecture.This year’s lecture featured Professor Dave Rudolph, who presented his thoughts on past and future trends in hydrogeology.

According to Rudolph, public interest in groundwater has increased, yet the focus has changed from development of water resources and cleaning up contamination to understanding how surface water and groundwater interact and impact each other.

Freshwater is facing unprecedented pressures,” said Rudolph, also a member and past director of the Water Institute. “Just look at the news -- over-exploitation, climate change, legacy effects and extreme hydrology like the drought in California are forcing policy makers to rethink how we manage public supply wells.”

A recent study in the US found 25 per cent of drinking water wells exceeded drinking water standards for one or more contaminants.

We’ve always seen water as something we could count on,” said Rudolph. “We’re now coming to the end of that free reign.”

Rudolph concluded his lecture with examples of integrated hydrologic assessment, a concept developed by Robert Farvolden himself, which is now gaining traction with consultants, academics, and municipalities. He called on field scientists to improve field measurements to reduce uncertainty in groundwater modeling.

The lecture traditionally includes two scholarship announcements. The Farvolden Scholarship was presented to Paul Menkveld, an MSc student supervised by Prof. Rudolph. The Waterline Scholarship was awarded to Fenglong Meng, an MSc student supervised by Prof. André Unger. Alumnus Roger Woeller was also announced as the 2016 Farvolden Lecturer.

Farvolden Day 2015 reception with Bill Taylor, Bob Gillham, June and Judy Farvolden, and Dave Rudolph.Department Chair Bill Taylor, Prof. Bob Gillham, June and Judy Farvolden, and the 2015 Farvolden Day Lecturer, Prof. Dave Rudolph at the reception.

The 50th anniversary dinner later that evening brought together 90 faculty, staff and alumni to reminisce over the department’s colorful history. Professor emeritus John Thompson (Biology), Professor Brewster Conant and his wife Bernadette, and Science and Business Program Director Jean Richardson (BSc Earth ’79) spoke at the event. Earth and Environmental Sciences Chair Bill Taylor served as MC for the evening.

The Department would like to extend its sincerest appreciation to Lorraine Albrecht for organizing this year’s memorable celebrations.