In Memory of Professor Waines
Professor Emeritus Russell H. Waines died Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at his residence following a long illness. Dr. Waines is remembered as a lifelong devotee of geology, who liked to say he would "die with his boots on." He completed a B.A. in Geology at the University of Toronto in 1950, a M.A. in Geology at the University of Toronto in 1956, and a Ph.D. in Paleontology at the University of California at Berkley in 1965. Between 1949 and 1957 he worked in the mining and petroleum industries, where his numerous duties included helicopter and horse party field exploration work. He continued work on numerous projects throughout his career, mainly with students. Although many projects never saw the light of publication, he published 13 scientific papers, 24 abstracts, and edited 3 guidebooks, most with his students.
Russell came to work at New Paltz in 1963 and retired to Emeritus status in 2006. He taught numerous courses over those years, typically carrying a teaching overload. Although his principal courses were Historical Geology, Paleontology, and Field Geology, he taught many others, including Geology of the Mid-Hudson Valley, Oceanography, Hydrology, Pleistocene Geology, Subsurface Geophysical Methods, and Environmental Surveying. He always enjoyed learning new ideas, and delighted in the overturning of scientific dogma. Former students will remember his explanations of excepted scientific truths that ended with his standard caveat, said with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, "except when it isn't."
He loved field work best, however, especially working on field research projects with undergraduate students, and supervised six master theses. He ran the "Annual New Paltz Students' Science Paper Presentations" for fifteen years up until 1986, as a venue for the presentation of student research in the sciences, and presented numerous papers with his students at regional meetings. Many alumni fondly remember doing their first research projects with Russell, and the amount of time outside of class that he devoted to working with them. Russell had a comprehensive knowledge of the local geology, both bedrock and surficial, which he gladly shared with new faculty members.
While not in the classroom or field Russell could be found in his lab working on one of his numerous unfinished projects, and was always ready for an extended conversation about geology, which could easily extend for several hours. He loved the unconventional, and to tweak authority with that mischievous twinkle in his eye. His presence will long be remembered in the halls of Wooster Science Building, and carried by his many former students and colleagues.