The CSU Department of Atmospheric Science Celebrates Our 50th Anniversary, 13-14 July, 2012
Over 350 present and former faculty and staff, alumni, and friends of the Department celebrated the 50th Anniversary of our founding during our Anniversary Weekend, July 13-14, 2012. Breaking with the Department tradition of rained-out Annual Picnics, we enjoyed beautiful weather all weekend with mostly sunny skies and highs near 90 F. The celebration was a wonderful time to get together with new and old friends, reminisce about grad school days and learn about the Department's current and future research directions. Events included an Anniversary Conference, Anniversary Banquet, and ATS Open House.
The ATS 50th Anniversary Conference was held on Friday, 13 July at the Hilton Fort Collins on Prospect Road near main campus. The morning began at 7:30 am with registration and breakfast. At 8:30 am ATS Department Head Prof. Jeff Collett began the formal program by welcoming attendees and introducing Vice President for Research Dr. William Farland. The Department was pleased and honored to have Dr. Farland kick off the day’s presentations with remarks about the Department’s founding and highlights of many of our accomplishments.
Nine invited speakers, all ATS alumni and representing a variety of the Department’s research themes, were next introduced by Prof. Sonia Kreidenweis. The featured speakers were Kevin Knupp (Ph.D. ’85); Robert Rauber (Ph.D. ’85); Steve Ackerman (Ph.D. ’87); Thomas Peterson (Ph.D. ’91); Timothy Lang (Ph.D. ’01); Susan van den Heever (Ph.D. ’01); Katherine Straub (Ph.D. ’02); Kevin Gurney (Ph.D. ’04); and Gavin McMeeking (Ph.D. ’08). The talks represented a great mix of science with some amusing historical anecdotes and photos thrown in along the way. The complete Conference program, along with videos and Powerpoints of the talks, can be found [here].
Lunch was served in the same room, and as it was winding down, Prof. Collett began the formal accompanying program. The program began with a recognition of conference attendees, including alumni by decade from the 60s through current students. This was followed by a tribute to the founder of our Department, as Herbert Riehl Jr. presented Prof. Herbert Riehl’s annotated, personal copy of “Tropical Meteorology” to the Department for our archives. The book will be displayed in our newly renovated Weather Laboratory. Robert Glancy and colleagues from the National Weather Service presented Colorado State University with a special Service Award for 125 years of uninterrupted weather observations on the CSU campus. The Service Award was accepted by State Climatologist Nolan Doesken, who was also our featured luncheon speaker. Nolan conducted a trip down memory lane of significant weather events in Colorado over the last 50 years. Prof. Collett then closed the session at 2:30 P.M., inviting attendees to the poster session immediately following, held in an adjacent ballroom. Over 35 posters were contributed by current and former students and staff, and the well-attended and lively session continued well past its scheduled end time of 4:30 PM.
At 5 PM our guests began to gather in the Hilton Atrium for a pre-Banquet reception. Conference attendees were joined by their families, as well as former ATS staff and friends who arrived for the reunion celebration, increasing our numbers to over 360. Around 6:30 PM the guests were ushered into the beautifully decorated main ballroom at the Hilton, where each person found at their place a copy of the booklet, “Atmospheric Science 50th Anniversary: A Brief History of the Department” (click here to download), with highlights of key events and historical photos from every decade. Prof. Collett introduced Dr. Sandra Woods, Dean of the CSU College of Engineering, who provided welcoming remarks to all attendees. Dinner was served and as guests were finishing dessert, Prof. Collett again took the podium to introduce the evening’s program, beginning with introductions. The Department was honored to welcome Dr. Ray Chamberlain, former President of Colorado State University, and his wife Melanie. Dr. Chamberlain was among the first to recognize the need for an Atmospheric Science program at CSU and was instrumental in establishing the Department, with Prof. Riehl at its helm. We also welcomed Dr. Jud Harper, former long-time CSU Vice-President for Research and a strong supporter of the department and Mr. Jupe Herrick, retired Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering, who worked closely with the Department over many years. Prof. Collett then took the opportunity to recognize attending alumni, current students, current and former department and research staff, and family members. The former Heads of the Department were recognized along with each of the attending current and retired faculty members. All were brought to the stage for a unique photo of 5 generations of Department leadership and faculty.
Noted ATS alumnus and History of Science expert Dr. James Fleming ('73) was our keynote speaker for the evening. Jim presented a look back in time to the events and people who played a role in the foundations of our field, including mathematics and physics, through the emergence of atmospheric science as a discipline in its own right and the national and international events leading to the founding of the Department in 1962. Following Jim’s presentation, Prof. Collett ended the evening by recognizing attending members of the Riehl family and thanking all of the attendees, as well as the volunteers who served on several organizing and planning committees for the Anniversary. Prof. Kreidenweis received special recognition for her efforts in leading the organization of 50th Anniversary events. Many guests lingered after the Banquet was adjourned, enjoying the time to catch up with many old and new friends.
On Saturday, July 14, everyone was invited to the ATS/CIRA campus to tour the facilities and participate in a variety of activities beginning at 10 AM. Guests were welcomed with maps showing the information stations set up in each building. A large tent behind ATS West provided shade and seating, and the venue for brunch and drinks. At 10:30 A.M. and 12:30 P.M. weather balloons were prepared and released from the bridge outside CIRA, and tracked on displays inside the conference room; the two soundings that were obtained are posted at the bottom of this page. This event was popular with the kids in attendance, who also enjoyed the Little Shop of Physics experiments that were set up in the ATS West classroom, and the Make It Rain game outside the Colorado Climate Center. Other stations explained the mission of CIRA; described the CloudSat instrument and mission; detailed the CHILL radar; highlighted the new Weather Laboratory and Precipitation Systems research group; described climate modeling and displayed data on the OmniGlobe; and provided a tour of the Atmospheric Chemistry Mobile Laboratory and research laboratories. One of the most popular tour stops was Story Time, hosted by Prof. Tom Vonderhaar, which provided a venue for sharing anecdotes about CSU, ATS and Fort Collins. We were fortunate to have several alumni from the 1960s in attendance, as well as several of the early faculty members and former CSU President Chamberlain. Please visit our Video tab to access videos of the StoryTime sessions.
A number of guests concluded their day with a visit to Grant Organic Farms, thanks to Prof. Grant’s gracious invitation to participate in a tour on Saturday afternoon.
The Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University thanks our alumni, friends, and current students, staff and faculty for celebrating this special occasion with us. We are grateful to Dr. Rick Miranda, CSU Provost and Executive Vice President, for financial support of our Anniversary Open House, and to Dr. William Farland, the CSU Vice President for Research, for financial support for the 50th Anniversary Conference. We are also grateful to Dean Sandra Woods and the College of Engineering for their support of this weekend’s events. We thank Jen Welding and James Conway of CSU Events and Constituent Engagement for their invaluable help in planning and execution of all of our Anniversary events. We thank Barbara Dennis and her team in Communications and Creative Services for their energy and talent in designing and producing our printed Anniversary materials, including this program. Finally, the Anniversary celebration would not have been possible without the creativity and enthusiasm of numerous Atmospheric Science and CIRA volunteers who have served on our Anniversary Planning Committees.
Download "Atmospheric Sciences 50th Anniversary: A Brief History of the Department"
Download essays from faculty from the ATS 20th Anniversary Celebration