Glen Carleton

26 April 2022

I was a flunking-out math major in the fall of my senior year and taking Geo 10 when I realized that
1) I wasn’t going to graduate if I stayed a math major and
2) I should have been a Geo major all along.

With help from Shelby (my prof for Geo 10) and Ed (chair) I was able to petition an academic committee for permission to make the unorthodox change-my-major-fall-term-senior-year-while-taking-intro-course-in-new-major.

I already had the math and physics pre-reqs so I packed the remaining courses into 3 trimesters plus one additional class at Colorado State U. the following spring.

I have a vivid memory of participating in a stream-gaging lab in your Geomorphology class on a cold day. I’d had the presence of mind to wear an old wool sweater that allowed me to stay somewhat warmer wading into the stream up to my waist. I didn’t anticipate the muddy water staining the white wool sweater and, therefore, learned about riverine sediment transport in a very intuitive and memorable way.

The influence you, Ed, and Shelby had on me is incalculable but one quantification is that I’ve had a very fulfilling 35-year career as a groundwater hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and I remain very, very grateful to the three of you especially as well as others.

One can draw a direct line from your Geomorph lab in the spring of 1985 (fall ’85?) and my demonstrating streamgaging in Lodwar, northern Kenya in 2018. I was in Kenya teaching hydrology to a group of water-resources professionals from the federal and Marsabit County water resources agencies and I grabbed a tagline and Price AA and strode into the Turkwel River in my clothes just as I had when taking your class 30+ years before. I like to think the fact that I demonstrated technical mastery in the classroom but also a willingness to get ‘down and dirty’ set a positive example just as you did for me.

As I approach retirement from my 35-year career with the USGS, I can only assume that you, like me, have some mixed feelings about retiring. I hope the glow from the thousands of students you taught over the years keeps you warm. Of course there were some in whom you did not leave a substantial impression but there were many, like me, for whom you were a life-altering force. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! -Glen