Alumni Services

Geography class of 1963

On 20 and 21 September 2013 the Geography Class of 1963 assembled in Edinburgh to celebrate fifty years of change.

Geography Class of 1963

Reunion organiser, Dr Walter M Stephen takes us through a weekend of discovery and reflection beginning at the Old Infirmary building on Drummond Street, the home of Physics in 1963, but now where you will find Geography, part of the school of GeoSciences.

Fifty years of change

Professor Charles Withers took us through the main changes of the past fifty years, leading to the present status of Geography within the School of Geosciences.


The School of GeoSciences was formed on 1 August 2002 by the merger of the former Institute of Ecology and Resource Management, the Department of Geography, the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and the Institute for Meteorology.


Three of his colleagues then described their current spheres of operation - Public Health, Glaciers in Greenland and Global Warming and Cultural Adaptation in Marginal Communities.

Discussion and debate

Geography 1963

This opening event proved extremely thought provoking and inspired a lively discussion regarding technology and the nature of teaching.

Full of admiration as we were at the advances in technology and political focus, we were also a little concerned that something had been lost with modular courses and the disappearance of fieldwork.

In fact discussion and debate was the order of the day as an evening reception and dinner with former lecturers Drs. Elliott, Kirby and Sissons, ended with former classmates rediscovering the art of friendly discourse.

One couple argued well into the night whether Edinburgh best fitted Burgess’s or Herman Hoyt’s Model of Urban Growth.

A short tour

One couple argued well into the night whether Edinburgh best fitted Burgess’s or Herman Hoyt’s Model of Urban Growth.

Dr Walter M Stephen

Saturday began with a reception followed by a campus tour led by Student Ambassador, Alex Marinaccio.

However, so good was Alex’s picture of how the University works today, and so free was the flow of reminiscence from the Class that we never got out of George Square!

The memories that kept the group rooted to George Square included reminiscences regarding George Watson’s Ladies College and the student hostels that previously occupied the site of the main library.

Final thoughts

A tour of the library followed before farewells and parting thoughts from Walter regarding the symbiotic nature of a reunion that mixes old with new.

Alex had gained some historical depth and perspective which would help his work with his students; while we had been convinced of the dynamic and enterprising nature of this great institution, of which we were still a minor part