Holly Ewing

13 May 2022

Dear Mary,

I am very sorry not to be in Minnesota right now since I would love to join the celebration of your career.

I think it would be hard to overstate how important you have been to me. It was your Geology of Minnesota course in the spring of my first year that opened for me a new way of seeing the world. The grounding the course offered me in the history of the world and the ways different kinds of rock and glacial deposits are formed and change over time has become central to how I think about landscapes. Your geomorphology class the next fall was perhaps my favorite course as an undergraduate, and the labs doing hillslope mapping in the Cannon Wilderness Park, measuring discharge in the river, and reconstructing glacial history from gravel pit deposits both further attuned my eyes to landscapes and taught me what collaborative problem-solving could do. These were central to my decision to major in Geology and have formed who I have become as a teacher. Even though you were away from Carleton for my last two years, I feel incredibly lucky to have had the good fortune to go with you and Nancy to Greece. The time in the field with you and Richard taught me both further nuance in landscape evolution and what a student can learn with generous mentors.

I have been incredibly grateful to have been able to stay in touch with you from time to time after graduating. Your contribution to our external review has been a touchstone in the program as we continue to think about both how science is supported and the role of space in building community. Your generosity in taking the time for an extended conversation with me about teaching and learning when I came through Northfield a few years later both reminded me about what teaching can do in the world and provided some stability at a difficult professional time for me. Indeed, I think it is your wonderful combination of humanity and careful thought that have been so important in so many of the things you have done and offered to so many of us. Thank you.

While my singing is would not be a draw, I am sorry not to be there to bring you a raisin bread esker (hopefully a little tastier and more geologically accurate than the one I brought to the gathering at the end of your geomorphology class) and revisit the songs from the Friends of the Pleistocene. I hope the party there involves both food landforms and some of the comradery you have been so good at facilitating throughout your career.

May your retirement be filled with field trips, music, friendship, and all the books you want to read. I hope to connect again at some point. In the meantime, may you know how deeply I value the many contributions your teaching and work as a teacher and professional have made to shaping so many initiatives and my own life.