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Moecher Named Earth and Environmental Sciences Endowed Alumni Professor

By Whitney Harder

(May 11, 2015) — Dave Moecher, professor and chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been named the Earth and Environmental Sciences Endowed Alumni Professor.

The Earth and Environmental Sciences Endowed Alumni Professorship is awarded to a tenured full professor who has made outstanding contributions to research and education in the field of earth and environmental sciences. The establishment of the professorship was driven completely by alumni; namely Ken Neavel, William Foley, Steve Sullivan and Jim Pear.  

"It is a profound honor to be awarded the Earth and Environmental Sciences Alumni Professorship because I have a high regard for and appreciation of the geology alumni who helped establish the professorship, and the other alumni who have helped sustain it," Moecher said. "This award reflects their commitment to building the reputation of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.” 

Moecher, who joined UK faculty in 1991, conducts research in the fields of tectonics, igneous and metamorphic petrology, geochronology, and structural geology. He was recently awarded a $155,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to understand how the Earth's crust produces magma, specifically, how unusually hot granites were formed 1 billion years ago.

In addition to the grant focused on “hot granites” that will support the research of two new graduate students, Moecher has an active NSF grant on Appalachian tectonics that supports a post-doctoral researcher, two graduate students and two high school students, and a prior grant also related to the “hot granite” topic.

Moecher teaches igneous and metamorphic petrology and often leads regional field trips to New England, Canada and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

"Besides research and teaching, I have a keen interest in undergraduate education and alumni relations," Moecher said.

He was recently honored with the 2015 Terry B. Mobley Development Service Award from the UK Development office, which recognizes success by UK faculty and staff in alumni development and service. Moecher has also received the 2013 Ken Freedman Outstanding Advisor Award for UK faculty and the 2013 National Association of Academic Advisors (NACADA) Region III Outstanding Academic Advisor for Kentucky.