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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Holmes Award Winners Announced

Chauncey D. Holmes portrait in black and white

Posted on: Feb. 1, 2021

The Holmes award is given in memorial of Professor Holmes, an alum of Syracuse University who established the award to recognize outstanding introductory students in the Earth Sciences. It was Professor Holmes’s desire to recognize top students in introductory classes and encourage them to excel and pursue careers in the geosciences. Congratulations to this year’s winners: Anita George, Angelina Manganese, Kaylee Polley, Jane Vandervort, Emily Weaver, Paige Yamane, and Ying Yang.

Chauncey D. Holmes entered graduate studies in geology at Syracuse University and completed his master’s requirements in 1927. His early research focused on the glacial and interglacial development of Chittenango Falls, which resulted in his first major published paper and drew the attention of Yale University’s geology department where he was accepted to the Ph.D. program. Holmes’ Ph.D. research at Yale University continued to focus on upstate New York’s glacial topography. Holmes confirmed the importance of the orientation of long axes of imbedded pebbles in glacial drift as signifying the direction of ice movement at the time of deposition. He coined the term “till fabric” and introduced it into the language of glacial geology.

After completing his Ph.D. program at Yale, Holmes taught at the University of North Dakota for a year in 1939. He then joined the faculty of the University of Missouri in Columbia where he served for 28 years. In 1964, with retirement as professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, Holmes returned to upstate New York.

A prime objective of Chauncey D. Holmes’ academic career was the awakening of geologic awareness among introductory students and non-geologist. To this end, he established at Syracuse University an award to recognize annually “the outstanding introductory geology students.”*

*Source: Muller, Ernest H. and Rogers, James K. “Memorial to Chauncey Depew Holmes 1897-1981”. The Geological Society of America.