The Environmental and Engineering Geology Division is proud to be the oldest division of the Geological Society of America. Founded in 1947 under the leadership of Roger Rhoads as the Engineering Geology Division, the name was changed to the Environmental and Engineering Geology Division in 2010 under the leadership of John C. Jens.
Roger Rhoades, a leader among the founders of the Engineering Geology Division, consulted with Henry Aldrich at the 1946 annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Chicago about forming a new division, and an informal session followed, attended by Sidney Paige, Arthur B. Cleaves, Parker Trask, Edward Burwell, William Irwin, and Shailer Philbrick. A separate section, the Cordilleran Section, had already been established; this precedent, and the personal attention of Secretary Aldrich, strongly influenced acceptance of the petition (Legget, 1973). The minutes of the GSA Council meeting of December 1946 indicate the desire of engineering geologists to form a section within the Society, and the original petition of March 20, 1947. The response of the GSA Council, granting the petition, the bylaws were drawn up subsequently by Roger Rhoades, Arthur Cleaves, and George Woollard and approved by the Council at a meeting in April 1947. The Engineering Geology Division (EGD) was authorized as a topical group in contrast to a geographic section of the Society.
The Division became a reality, with Charles P. Berkey serving as the first chairman during 1947 and 1948, Sidney Paige as vice-chairman, and Roger Rhoades, secretary. The first formal meeting occurred during the 1947 annual meeting of the Society in Ottawa, Canada.
There have been regular sessions of the Division at every annual meeting of the Society since 1947, as well as programs and field trips at most of the section meetings. Today there are ten divisions of GSA whose bylaws and statutes all were patterned after those of the Engineering Geology Division.
One of the primary symbols of EEGD is the Berkey Gavel, the history of which may be found here.
The previous text was a slightly modified excerpt from the 1991 paper: History and Heritage of Engineering Geology Division Geological Society of America, by George A. Kiersch and Allen W. Hatheway Chapter 4 of The Heritage of Engineering Geology: The First Hundred Years, GSA Centennial Special Volume 3, 1991.
Read full paper (PDF format).