First 50 Years

c.1960  At a bar in the Denver airport, Professors John Harshbarger (then chair of the UA Geology Department) and T.L. Smiley (then director of the UA Laboratory of Geochronology) sat with several colleagues from the U.S. Geological Survey, waiting for a plane.  The USGS colleagues included, among others, Luna Leopold (then chief hydrologist of the USGS Water Resources Division) and Walter Langbein and Nick Matalas (research hydrologists).  History does not record what they drank nor where they were going, but we do know what they discussed:  "This country needs," said the Survey men, "a university program in hydrology that will teach groundwater and surface water as an integrated discipline, and the University of Arizona is the place to do it."  "I agree," John Harshbarger replied, "but we'lll need the cooperation of the Survey."  "You got it," said Luna.  Then and there a tentative program was outlined (probably on the back of an envelope taken from one of John's pockets).  ---Eugene Simpson

The First 40, John Harshbarger's initial cohort of students, knows the history of the department.  They were there at the beginning, in the midst of all that excitement, turmoil, frustration, and change.  But what about the rest of us?  It's time for everyone else to catch up!  Learn about John Harshbarger, HWR's early founders, and the history they made here.  [link coming soon]  Our deepest gratitude go to our story tellers--Peter Schreuder (PHD '74), Ken Schmidt (PHD '71), Jim Leenhouts (PHD '94), Peter Mock (PHD '97)--authors of these trips down memory lane. 

Timelines                           Ode to H2O                               Bulletin Boards

History According to Gene Simpson

History According to the USGS Survey Men*  

*Special thanks to Jim Leenhouts and our friends and alumni at the USGS for compiling these photos and historical information

Faculty Students/Alumni Research
Founding Faculty Current Programs Focus Areas
Legacy Faculty Alumni Achievement Theses and Dissertations
Deceased Faculty Deceased Alumni Technical Reports
Note:  All material subject to revision (especially if your memory is better than ours). Contact the department if you have information that will help us update our pages.

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