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Through booms and busts and struggling for resources to rebuild and maintain a historically thriving and respected program, Dr. David Jeffery ’89 worried at times that the work that he was doing in Geology was sometimes getting overlooked.

The perseverance has paid off and is evident in the bright outlook, excitement and vision now permeating the Geology Program. The icing on the cake came as a surprise, though, when he received the Gilde-Grose Distinguished Professor of Science award during the 2019 Founders Day celebration.

“I didn’t expect it all,” says Jeffery, who returned to his alma mater in 2003. “This really does provide important support and encouragement for all of the hard work and trying to recruit students into the program as well as maintaining significant outreach within the community.  This will really help out while we are trying to open up a new chapter in not just being able to provide a solid foundation in geology, but also offer opportunities to focus in exciting fields like paleontology, engineering geology and petroleum geology. This recognition and the generosity of the donor makes me feel appreciated for the work that I’m doing at Marietta College.”

The professorship, along with a considerable amount of other funding, was made available through an anonymous donation from a Marietta College alum. While many of the large donations to the College are public, there are also a good number that are given anonymously. The award includes a two-year stipend as well as funds for enhancing department equipment and professional development.

“Anonymous gifts are those that exemplify the altruistic nature of our donors. They are given out of a desire to make a difference and perpetuate the unique and lasting experience that makes Marietta College such a special place,” said Doug Evans, interim Director of Major Gifts. “Transformative gifts like those that established the Gilde-Grose Distinguished Professor of Science endowment are testaments not only to the impact our faculty have on the lives of our students but to the nature of that impact. Dr. Hans Gilde and Dr. Herschel Grose inspired generations of students, both majors and nonmajors, to study in the sciences and to apply the scientific method to the world around them. That’s why it was important to the donor that the endowment provide recognition and resources to the faculty member honored with the title, as well as provide funding to enrich the academic experience for students who study and conduct research within that professor’s scientific field. This has allowed for the purchase of materials, equipment and resources that might not otherwise have been able to provide without such generous support.”

Jeffery plans to use some of the existing funds to attend the American Association of Petroleum Geologists conference in Houston and, as part of his professional development, present his findings from his continued research on Silurian Reefs.

“Everyone in the department is excited about our future, and how we can utilize these funds to grow the program,” he says.

Dr. Janet Bland, Provost, is excited that donors are recognizing the great work that the current faculty are doing with today’s students.

“The selection of Dr. David Jeffery for this honor is indicative of the donor’s wishes to highlight an outstanding member of the sciences faculty who engages students in a profound way,” Bland says. “The great thing about the selection process is that the committee includes graduating students, who can certainly speak to who among the science faculty have had an impact on their education.”

- Tom Perry