Geology alumni return to campus to celebrate 70 years of the subject at Kingston University

Posted Friday 9 December 2016

More than 120 alumni, students and staff (past and present) from the department of geology and geography returned to Kingston last month to celebrate 70 years since geology was first taught at Kingston University.

The alumni, who ranged from those who graduated in 1952 to those who left Kingston earlier this year, were joined by current geology students who were on hand to give tours of the department and show off some of the exciting things the faculty is working on.

"This was my first time back since walking out the door after finals in 1974", said Roger Middleton, (BSC Geology 1977). "And although the facade is the same, once inside the place is unrecognisable.

"During a tour of the labs and geology department we got to talk to the staff and some of the current students. It was very strange handling some of the specimens that we drew so laboriously 45 years ago!"

The reunion featured guest lectures from Kingston geology alumni Alan Butcher (BSc Geology, 1980), Graham Sutliffe (BSc Geology joint hons, 1975), Stuart Harker (BSc Geology, 1972), Steve Cribb (BSc Geology, 1972), as well as former professor Nick Petford. The topics included 'About European Beer', 'Digital Mineralogical Mapping', and 'The Kingston Mafia', with Nick Petford delivering the 'Whitten lecture' on magma emplacement.

This was followed by a geological themed wine-tasting hosted by Kingston alumnus Dick Selley (BSc Geology, 1961), who described the rosy future he sees for English rosé wine.

"The talks were light and humorous, not in the least bit "academic", said Roger, "but with an underlying serious topic. Even though this was the first time I had listened to anything geological in 42 years (other than mainstream radio and TV), I was with 80% of it. 

"And the stuff that I missed - I know I won't have to regurgitate it in an exam any time soon!"

The guests then enjoyed an evening dinner, featuring speeches from our 'Master of Ceremonies', alumnus and honorary doctor, and President of the Geological Society of London, Malcolm Brown, and Dick Moody, former Emeritus Professor at Kingston University.

"Even though I knew so few of those there, it didn't seem to matter as we all had a shared experience, and the cohesiveness of Kingston Geologists is still very much in evidence," said Roger. "It was over all too soon!"

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