Department of Geology field trip, circa 1936. University Archives Digital Collection.
Department of Geology field trip, circa 1936. University Archives Digital Collection.

Past & Present

Honoring our History

DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES A BRIEF HISTORY

The Department of Geosciences has a rich and diverse history, that during this centennial year we fondly celebrate and look back on. The name of both the Department and the University changed a few times over the years as we grew into what we are now at Mississippi State University. The Department of Geosciences was first called the Department of Geology and Geography in 1916, at Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, and that is when we consider the birth of our modern department.  The Department head back then was C. W. Tomlinson, sixteen different classes and twelve lab were offered including: Agricultural Geography, Industrial Geography and Advanced Map Interpretation, as well as some of the classes we still offer such as Mineralogy and Historical Geology.  Dr. Bill Cooke is our current Department head and we now offer over 100 different classes and labs. We officially became the Department of Geosciences in the spring of 1993 and have never looked back. This Departmental name was selected to cover our growing number of disciplines, moving beyond just geology and geography, to now include Meteorology, which was originally taught in the Department of Chemistry, Climatology, as well as the Broadcast Meteorology Program, Geospatial Sciences, and Distance Learning. The cover of the first Bulletin our Department was recognized, during the 1916-1917 academic year. University Archives Digital Collection.

We have spent about half of our time, just as many of you had when you were students, in our current home of Hilbun Hall. The Department moved in when Hilbun was constructed in 1960, and was lucky enough to have one of the first centrally air conditioned buildings on the Mississippi State Campus.  Hilbun Hall was renovated, into the building many of you may know today from the fall of 1998 until summer of 2000. Here in Hilbun Hall we also house The Dunn-Seiler Museum, which was designated in 1962, in honor of two dedicated former faculty, Paul H. Dunn, and Franklin Seiler. Originally located on the Second floor, the Museum’s home is now on the first floor, hosts regular open hours, as has approximate 1000 visitors a year. 

We also have a wealth of rich stories, impacts, and contributions through our alumni, friends and faculty that we need you to help us share. During our Centennial Anniversary we hope that you take a minute and reflect with us and join in our celebration of how far we have come, and where we are still heading.  There are several ways to join us here, including several events that we will be hosting here on campus and in the Department. You can also join us wherever you are by wearing maroon on Fridays. Take a few minutes and nominate an outstanding alumni that you know, or take the time share your favorite memories with us. 

We wouldn’t be where we are today without our community of students, alumni and friends. Happy Birthday Department of Geosciences!

Based on THE DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES AT MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY--A BRIEF HISTORY by Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt, 1994 John. E. Mylroie, 2003 Chris Dewey, 2009 Kathy Sherman-Morris, 2016

View the video and our Centennial Challenge page


Events
  • 100 Celebration Open House Earth Science Week Kick off! 12-4pm on October 7 Hilbun Hall. Come celebrate 100 years with us and see how far we have come as a Department. Tours of the department and the Dunn-Seiler Museum start at the main office Hilbun Hall Room 108.

  • Homecoming Tailgate and Open House. October 29th Hilbun Hall. Game time dependent. Tours will start at the main office.

  • 100 Celebration Open House. Friday, November 4 at 12-4pm. Come celebrate 100 years with us and see how far we have come as a Department. Tours of the current department and the Dunn-Seiler Museum start at the main office Hilbun Hall Room 108. Then join us the next day for the Mississippi State College of Arts & Sciences Tailgate for the Texas A and M Game.


Nominate an outstanding Alumni

Do you know a special alumnus from the Department? Then consider nominating them for a chance to be one of our Top 100 Alumni for the past 100 years! Just complete the simple form below and then email it to Dr. Athena Owen Nagel at amo58@msstate.edu and Dr. Kathy Sherman-Morris at kms5@msstate.edu. Be sure to include the Outstanding Alumni in the subject line.

Download the Outstanding Alumni Form


Share Your Memories

Are you an alumni, friend, donor, or otherwise associated with the Department over some point in time during the past 100 years? Then dig out your pictures and memories and submit them with the following information to Dr. Athena Owen Nagel at amo58@msstate.edu. Be sure to include 100 Memories in the subject line.

Download the Memory Form


GEOSCIENCES SHIRTS

Get your shirt for upcoming conferences or to wear on Maroon Fridays!  Proceeds of the 100 years shirts benefit the Geosciences Centennial Fund. 

Available shirt design examples.