Brown Day 2016
In the fall of 1962, geography professors Cotton Mather and Fred Lukermann put their heads together to envision the inaugural Ralph H. Brown Day to celebrate the department and honor outstanding student achievement. What began as an idea from Lukermann for an annual lecture to commemorate long-time faculty member Ralph H. Brown was broadened by Mather, then chair of the department, to an all-day event.
Today, Brown Day aims to encourage conversation among students, faculty, and alumni from across the Department of Geography, Environment & Society. On April 22 the department held the fifty-third annual Brown Day. The event began with graduate student research presentations, showcasing the outstanding work being done by students in the department. The presentations were held in Blegen Hall in the morning, and were followed by a lunch and student poster session to further reflect work being done in the department.
Professor Dan Brown from the University of Michigan was this year’s prominent visiting geographer. Dan Brown earned his BA degree in geoenvironmental studies from Shippensburg University before completing his MA and PhD in geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In his afternoon keynote lecture, Professor Brown reflected on the findings of a recent NRC report on "Advancing Land Change Modeling" and its implications for how to advance this effort. Over 75 guests attended Professor Brown’s lecture.
Rather than the traditional banquet at the end of the evening, this year the department hosted a reception and awards ceremony. The two hour reception was held in the Carlson Dining Room, a room large enough for the attendance of the more than 50 guests. This is certainly a change from half a decade ago when the banquet was held in 414 Social Sciences with just 31 people in attendance.
While Brown Day has changed over the years, its purpose has remained the same: celebrating the past year’s achievements and highlighting the department’s rich history.