Socrates Citation in Honor of Stanley A. Mertzman

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In August of 1972, on the heels of Hurricane Agnes, a young family packed its belongings in a U-Haul trailer and departed Washington, D.C., for Lancaster. Stan Mertzman had just completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History. He was green as green can be, never having taught a college course in his life, but Professor John Moss, Chair of the Department of Geology, recognized Stan’s excellent potential. On June 30, 2022, Professor Mertzman will have completed 50 years at F&M. He considers himself fortunate to have worked with many excellent students on research involving igneous and metamorphic rocks. Professor Mertzman is thankful they chose him as a mentor and collaborator.

Professor Mertzman is an award-winning teacher, earning the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Teaching Award in 1977, and scholar, earning the Bradley R. Dewey Award for Scholarship in 2014. Professor Mertzman was awarded the John W. Nevin endowed professorship in 1991, and in 1997, was named the Dr. Earl D. Stage and Mary E. Stage Professor of Geosciences. He also served as Department of Geology Chair (1981-1988) and Associate Dean of the College (1992-1996). As an administrator, he maintained a presence in the classroom and continued to teach his Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology course every year.

Professor Mertzman’s role as associate dean was highly impactful. He garnered National Science Foundation funding to renovate the Pfeiffer Science Building, home of the Geology, Physics, Astronomy and Chemistry departments. This grant, combined with a gift from alumnus William Hackman, led to a $10.5 million renovation (1996-1998). The building was renamed the William J. Hackman Physical Sciences Laboratories, and the improvements kept F&M’s physical science programs on the leading edge of teaching and research among our peer colleges.

Professor Mertzman’s contributions to geoscience education extend beyond F&M. In the mid-1980s, faculty from 10 undergraduate liberal arts colleges with the strongest programs in geology were invited by the William Keck Foundation to develop a proposal to encourage and facilitate undergraduate research in geology. Professor Mertzman co-authored the proposal establishing the Keck Geology Consortium, now in its 35th year, which emphasized summer research opportunities and a symposium wherein students would present their research results to their peers. Stan led or co-led eight Keck summer projects in Colorado and Oregon. With the invaluable help of Isaac Weaver ’05 and Stephen Crabtree ’04, Professor Mertzman assembled and published 10 1:24000 geologic maps, each with a 25- to 50-page supplementary document. More than 90 students earned their first publication credit with this peer-reviewed research. With the help of Steve Sylvester ’71, Emily Wilson ’11 and especially Karen Mertzman ’96, Stan supervised the F&M X-ray analysis lab, and along the way worked with researchers both near (Penn State and University of Maryland) and far (Curtin University in Australia and University of Otago in New Zealand).

Lastly, outside the classroom and lab, Professor Mertzman established an impressive record as a distance runner. Between April 2000 and May 2009, he completed 47 marathons, all but two in times under four hours, with his speediest race being 3:27.