Staff news

Geosciences Professor celebrates six decades of dedication

Senior Emeritus Professor in the School of Geosciences, Brian Upton, recently celebrated his 60th year with the University in a milestone recognised during our annual long service ceremony.

A young Professor Upton stands at the top of a rocky volcano with blue skies behind him
Professor Upton doing fieldwork on the island of Reunion, 50 years ago

Held at the Playfair Library in spring 2023, the ceremony is hosted by the Principal to recognise the dedication of staff who have been with the University for at least 25 years.

Professor Upton's journey with the University began in September 1962, when he joined as a member of what is now the College of Science and Engineering.

Over the years, his expertise in the field saw him travel around the world, including 10 years spent researching on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion. He also published three geology books, working to make the subject accessible to academics and amateurs alike. 

These contributions to the University’s scientific community led him to serve as the department's head, and, despite retiring in 2000, Professor Upton maintains an office on campus where he continues his research and academic publications.

Professor Upton’s six decades with the University is an achievement that will also be shared by his colleagues from the Geosciences department, Professor Ewan Clarkson and Professor Ben Harte, who will reach the same milestone next year.

When I first joined the University– back when Harold Macmillan was Prime Minster – the place looked very different. But it’s not just the architecture that has changed. The Geology Department has expanded into exciting new subjects such as meteorology, global warming and oceanography. My advice to academics who are just beginning is to find the area that absolutely fascinates you. It’s no different to being a musician or an artist - you must throw yourself into it 100% in order to make a difference and pass on that passion to students.

Brian UptonSenior Emeritus Professor in the School of Geosciences

We believe it’s important to recognise all long service contributions to the University. However, six decades is, by anyone’s standards, a truly exceptional achievement. I would personally like to thank Professor Upton, as well as Professor Ewan Clarkson and Professor Ben Harte, for dedicating their lives to our institution and enriching it in ways that are impossible to calculate.

Peter MathiesonPrincipal and Vice Chancellor