Gneiss news for UMM

Thanks to generous donors, we are about to launch a new named professorship.

The University of Minnesota Morris announced a new privately funded named professorship to assist in recruitment and retention of faculty at the University. The Morton Gneiss Professorship for Environmental Sciences will provide funding support for U of M Morris in recruiting, supporting, and retaining outstanding faculty members in the area of environmental sciences. With the help of private donors, this is the first named professorship at the U of M Morris.

I love the title. Morton Gneiss is not the name of the donor.

Morton Gneiss, the name selected for the professorship by the donors, refers to the 4 billion-year-old [more like 3.5 billion, I think] bedrock below western Minnesota — a symbol of permanence. The Morton Gneiss Professorship starts in the fall of 2023.

You’ve got a little time to tune up your CV if you want to apply. That timing means we’ll probably start advertising the position in the fall of 2022.


  1. Jackson says

    Sounds like good news, and I love the name!

    I’m surprised to see you write so positively about philanthropy, though.

  2. numerobis says

    You can’t take anything for granite anymore but it looks promising!

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    numerobis @2:

    You can’t take anything for granite anymore

    No schist.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    The bedrock under Minnesota was created by the twin gods Gneiss and Granite. The deities behind sedimentary rocks are young upstarts, like the norse Vanir.
    At 3.5 billion, it predates the current form of tectonics. How the earliest continental crust formed -and avoided to get recycled into the mantle- is not yet a well-known field of study. Yet it is likely that there was a significant amount of land surface rising above the ocean, as chemical weathering probably was necessary to release the elements needed for the emergence of the first life.

  5. nifty says

    As for college philanthropy, gifts like this will have much more impact at schools like Morris. In my area, I really appreciate that some large donors have targeted our community colleges, knowing that a gift there will make more impact on more students who need it rather than fattening the already obscene endowments of the Ivy-level schools.

  6. PaulBC says

    Morton Gneiss sounds like a character from Dr. Seuss. Or probably it just makes me think “Horton” and “Seuss”. It is an excellent name. Somebody needs to use it in fiction.

  7. Miserable Git Says says

    This for some reason makes me smile, which goes against my whole being.
    Damn you PZ