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NCCU to Honor the Legacy of Theodore R. Speigner

Theodore Speigner, Ph.D.

Former professor Theodore Speigner, Ph.D., founder of the NCCU Department of Geography, will be honored April 20 with an evening of music, food and entertainment at the Mary Townes Science Complex on campus.

The celebration will also highlight the many accomplishments of the department over the past 57 years.

“We are looking forward to this event not only as an opportunity to honor our department’s founder, but also reconnect with our alumni and to highlight new accomplishments by our students and faculty,” said Gordana Vlahovic, chair of the department, which is now known as Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences.

Albert P. Barnett, Ph.D., former department chair, will deliver a keynote address highlighting historical milestones of the department. The celebration will also include undergraduate poster presentations, graduate student research presentations and an alumni question-and-answer panel for current students.

Speigner, who died in 1982, formed NCCU’s Department of Geography in 1960 and served as chair from 1960 to 1975. Under his leadership, the department offered a bachelor’s degree with a teaching degree track. The first class graduated in 1964.

In 1995, the department expanded to offer a master’s degree in Earth Science, becoming the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences. The university’s master’s degree in Earth Science is unique in the Triangle, with students completing their coursework in the evenings at a rate of three courses per semester.

After a merger with the Department of Environmental Science, the Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences (EEGS) Department was born in 2005. All students in the EEGS undergraduate program earn the same B.S. degree – in Environmental and Geospatial Science – but with three concentrations to choose from: environmental science, geoscience and environmental health.

Learning more about earthquakes, particularly the potential for a strong earthquake in the eastern U.S., is part of the work carried out by students working on their masters’ degrees in Earth Science in the Mary Townes Science Building.

In 2015, EEGS students took hands-on learning to a new level by participating in “Solar Spring Break,” a student volunteer initiative that provided home energy alternatives to underserved communities in Sacramento, Calif. NCCU was the only historically black college and university (HBCU) of the 10 universities selected to participate in the program.

The goal of the Earth Sciences program is to teach skills and methods that are used in analyzing and understanding the Earth’s physical properties and environment and the ways that human activities may alter those conditions – a field of science that is quickly growing.

For more information on the event and how to contribute the Theodore Speigner Endowment Fund, please contact Corey J. Savage, director of development in NCCU College of Arts and Sciences at (919) 530-7097 or corey.savage@nccu.edu


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