Departmental History

In January 1952, Mrs. Olga Wiess provided an endowment to establish the Harry Carothers Wiess Chair of Geology as a memorial to her husband. As a result, Carey Croneis was invited to join the then Rice Institute as Provost and was named the first Wiess Chair, joining the faculty in January 1954. Croneis, with Associate Professor John A. S. Adams and Assistant Professor John J. W. Rogers, established a program of courses in Geology. The first senior class graduated in June 1955 and the first doctorate was awarded in 1958.

Since then nearly a thousand geologists and geophysicists have graduated from our Department. The Department is ranked among the best departments in the United States with the Geophysics specialty being ranked 12th in the U.S. Our alumni have gone on to distinguished careers in the energy and environmental industries and in academia.

The Keith-Wiess Geological Laboratories, completed in 1959, were thoroughly renovated a decade ago.