Faculty Spotlight: Sam Romberger

While some may consider older teachers inferior to the newer generation of faculty, it is professors such as Dr. Sam Romberger in Geology and Geological Engineering that prove these short-sighted hooligans wrong. Recently, “The Oredigger” sat down with this esteemed member of the faculty to find out what he is up to between his still impressive dedication to the students.

Oredigger: So to start off, is it true that you own the Rockdoc car?
Romberger: You are correct.

And how did that come about?
My daughter gave me that license plate 20 years ago. She gave it to me for my birthday, I think.

You must have been teaching here a long time if you have been the Rockdoc since way back when?
1974 is when I came here, originally I taught what would be the earth class now, and then I taught graduate courses in geochemistry.

So from what I have gathered, you have quite the specialty in uranium resources?
Yes, my specialty is uranium geochemistry and exploration geology… now that there is a slight boom in the uranium business, I have become involved in the board of technological directors for two junior uranium companies.

What sorts of hobbies do you find time to do with those obligations and your teaching?
Well, I model railroad and read and I go biking.

What is your favorite memory of teaching at this school for all these years?
Oh, that’s a continuous memory. My favorite memory is just being able to go to class, not every day, more like three times a week, and being able to make an impact on the students’ education. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that.

What about the geology field sessions?
Well, I was the director for field camp back when the department was small. That’s another thing, I love going out in the field with students and when they see that they understand something, that is incredibly gratifying. Plus, I was in charge of the Molas Lake program for years and where else do you get to work in such beautiful scenery.

So was it the scenery that got you into geology and geochemistry?
No, not really, it was the rocks.

Do you have any advice for students and possibly faculty members to aspire to?
Well for faculty, young faculty especially, that is to do research. We seem to have a dichotomy here where we have significant teaching loads yet we hire faculty to do research. I have seen many instances where faculty come here and get caught up in the classroom, which is good, but young faculty have that opportunity to do research… As for students, put away the distractions and also become more attuned to what is happening in the world… a lot is going on and it is important to stay current.

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