UW Soil Science 125th Anniversary

125_logo_v3_Friz_QThe UW Department of Soil Science Celebrated Our 125th Anniversary!

F. H. King’s Department of Agricultural Physics was recognized at UW-Madison in 1889, and from this emerged the Department of Soils, later renamed the Department of Soil Science. As part of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (originally the College of Agriculture) 125th anniversary (that’s a quasquicentennial, but we are favoring numerals) we marked 2014 as the 125th anniversary of Soil Science at UW-Madison. This was also the date that the first phase of what was to later be named King Hall opened. (And the Soils Building turned 99, close enough for many of us, but not everyone, alas.)

The celebration was on Friday, May 23, 2014, and included a full day and evening of recognition of our department’s remarkable legacy. The day’s program included reflections on our history, research updates from leading faculty members and graduate students, and four special talks from folks who we count among our most important product–graduates–and are now distinguished scholars of soil science. These four were Maribeth Kirkham (Kansas State University), Mike Vepraskas (North Carolina State University), Paul Gessler (University of Idaho), and Tom Sauer (USDA-ARS and Iowa State University).

Thank you to all who could attend!

To help defray the cost of the event (currently estimated in excess of $10,000) we have created the “Soil Science Anniversary Fund” at the UW-Foundation. Please consider a donation to this fund, by following this link to our UW-Foundation account.


Program of Events

Friday, May 23, 2014

9.00-10.00           Reception

10.00-10.30         Welcome from CALS Dean Kathryn VandenBosch

10.30-10.50         Phil Barak (UW): History of the soil science department

10.50-11.10         Bill Bland (UW): Soil science futures

11.10-11.40         Mike Vepraskas (North Carolina State): Hydric soil research

11.40-12.10         Mary Beth Kirkham (Kansas State University): Heavy metals in the environment

12.10-13.10         Lunch

13.10-13.40         Paul Gessler (University of Idaho): Soil landscape modeling

13.40-14.10         Tom Sauer (USDA-ARS Iowa): Sustainable bioenergy production

14.10-14.20         Carrie Laboski (UW): From test kits to statutes: The evolution of soil fertility

14.20-14.30         Clay Vanderleest (UW, graduate student): Soil water potential and cranberry irrigation

14.30-14.40         Steve Ventura (UW): Soils and urban agriculture

14.40-14.50         Melissa Haber (UW, graduate student): Heavy metal sequestration via soil 

14.50-15.10         Break

15.10-15.20         Doug Soldat (UW): Rapid soil formation in golf course root zones

15.20-15.30         Megan Chawner (UW, graduate student): Benefits of radish as a cover crop

15.30-15.40         Joel Pedersen (UW): Soil and the transmission of prion disease

15.40-15.50         Melanie Stock (UW, graduate student): Agricultural runoff on frozen soils

15.50-16.50         Plenary discussion

16.50-18.15         Aperitifs & poster session in King Hall

18.15-20.00         Dinner at Carson Gulley (across the street from the Soils Building)

20.00-22.00         Music and Dance


Photos and Video

Group Photo from the 125th Anniversary Celebration on May 23, 2014. Photo taken by Rick Wayne.

Group Photo from the 125th Anniversary Celebration on May 23, 2014. Photo taken by Rick Wayne.

Click here to link to video of the presentations.