The presence of geology dates to the earliest days of Lafayette College. Early records show Peter Arrell Browne as Professor of Mineralogy and Geology from 1837 to 1847.
Expansion of science at the college occurred just after the end of the Civil War. This expansion included the creation of a professorial Chair of Geology and Mineralogy. The first holder of that chair, Charles Henry Hitchcock, Ph.D., was a noted geologist of the day and the son of the President of Amherst College. During the summer of 1869, Hitchcock supervised extensive geological field work in Pennsylvania. It was also in the 1860’s that the College acquired its first collection of fossils and minerals.
Geology continued its presence at Lafayette with Professor Rossiter Raymond and Frederick Birritt Peck. Peck served the College from 1896 to 1925, the first two years as Professor of Geology and Mineralogy. It was with the appointment of Professor Freeman Ward in 1926 that geology blossomed into a full-fledged “department.”
In the 1960’s, the Department of Geology moved to its present quarters, Van Wickle Hall, originally the College library and one of the most handsome and architecturally distinct buildings on campus. Now, as the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, we continue to prosper with five professors and one laboratory coordinator.