Founded as a School of Mines in 1896, at a time when minerals played a dominant role in the national economy and similar institutions were being created around the United States, it grew slowly, then flourished unlike many of its contemporary schools of mines that were absorbed by other academic units, or forced to close their doors due to lack of support.
What began as a school offering instruction in mining engineering, geology and metallurgy evolved into a diverse college with wide-ranging interests. The college now has six departments: materials science & engineering, mineral engineering, geosciences, geography, meteorology and mineral economics; and flourishing research centers focusing on earth system science, advanced materials and fuel utilization.
Over the years, the college has sustained a close relationship with the industries and professions related to its academic mission and, over the past 40 years, has gained a reputation for research and graduate education.
The 120 faculty members of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences led the University in per capita research funding for many years. In recent rankings of doctoral programs by the National Research Council, the Department of Geography's program was ranked No. 1 in the nation out of 36 programs. Today, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is known within the University for its innovative approach to undergraduate teaching; it is acknowledged throughout the academic community for the contributions of its scientists and scholars; and it has earned a national reputation for its work in weather forecasting.
"We believe this is a very special college," Dean John Dutton said. "It has a unique range of disciplines and remarkable ability to come together to address critical societal issues. We have been fortunate that our history and traditions have allowed us to develop a strong sense of community, and we have always been united in our commitment to excellence in everything we do.
"I have participated in the college's development for 30 years and still find it a stimulating and rewarding environment for intellectual growth."
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