Geology Pioneer Honored by Johns Hopkins University

Florence Bascom, the trailblazing founder of the geology department at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, was recently honored by Johns Hopkins University, where her name now graces a building – the Bascom Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories – designed to foster undergraduate research.

Dr. Bascom, who founded Bryn Mawr’s geology department in 1895 and taught here for 35 years, was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins, in 1893, and the second woman to earn a Ph.D. in geology in the United States. She went on to become the first woman employed by the U.S. Geological Survey and also founded a leading academic center of geology, paving the way for generations of female geologists.

Dr. Bascom was a pathbreaking figure in Hopkins history who made it part of her academic mission to encourage young people — especially young women — to establish themselves as the next generation in her beloved field, said Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels in his remarks during the naming ceremony.

“All of us, myself included, have had at various points in our career people who have pushed us. Who have insisted on us aspiring to higher standards. Who have insisted that we actually do better and be better in the way in which we do our work, and to embrace the path that we’ve embarked upon no matter how difficult it may be,” President Daniels said. “Florence Bascom’s legacy as an educator and a researcher will continue to live on, through countless students who use these labs, and the faculty and post-docs who teach in them. And Johns Hopkins University is truly thrilled, and proud, to be able to dedicate these laboratories in her honor.”

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