Reid Fisher (’80)

9 May 2022

Mary epitomizes the strength of the Carleton approach to me.

At the time I was an undergrad, I had no idea she was only a handful of years older than we were. She was deeply researched and nuanced in her geologic thinking, and encouraged excitement about it all. She is endlessly generous with her time. She has a knack for encouraging students to think of themselves as co-collaborators with faculty in all manner of intellectual exploration, and she was key in hooking many on geology, especially geologic processes.

When I graduated, I somehow hypnotized Tillman Farley (’79) into handing off his geomorphology/soils job at Northwestern’s habitation/burial mound research site in Illinois, when he moved on to new pastures. The hitch was I knew nothing about soils, having not been able to take Mary’s soils course. She guided me through an independent study with a great let’s-get-you-prepped approach, and they were fooled.

In 1986 I had the good fortune to be Mary’s Co-Director on the Death Valley Field Seminar. She had a deft touch for getting the best from everyone, with a dry questioning humor that at times allowed you wonder if you were being ribbed slightly. She has always been willing to provide perspective, leads on new thinking, and thoughts on resources. I love the memories of dust storms, snow in Bandelier Nat’l Monument, and absolutely swimming every day in new bits of geomorphology and tectonics.

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