Geography encompasses far more than the mere memorization of place names and capital cities. It delves into the intricate study of interactions between humans, as well as the dynamic relationships between humans and nature upon the vast expanse of the Earth's surface. Through geography, we gain insights into the ever-evolving nature of these interactions across both time and space, unravelling the reasons behind the positioning of people, places, and things in our world.
History of the Geography Department
Brigham Young University has offered geography classes since its opening. BYU’s first president Karl G. Maeser taught many core geography classes. Geography was originally part of the Geology Department, with Elliott Tuttle and a couple of geology professors teaching courses in geography.
Today the Geography Department offers six major emphases and four minors.
|The BS Geography degree introduced in the Geology & Geography Department.
|The independent Geography Department was created, housed in the Eyring Science Building, consisting of three full-time faculty, chair: Elliott Tuttle
|Moved to the new David O. McKay Building
|Geography moved to the Jesse Knight Building; the first Master’s degree is awarded by the department
|Russell Horiuchi (Human Geography) hired, Chair: Robert Layton (for the next 20 years!); the University standardizes the 3-digit course numbering system, a few classes have miraculously survived from then to the present with the same number! (101, 120, 211, 312)
|Geography moved to the Heber J. Grant Building, our home for the next 19 years.
|New emphasis (Bachelor and Associate) in Travel & Tourism introduced.
|Several new degree programs replace the emphases: BS Resource Management, BS Geography Teaching, BS Travel & Tourism, BS Planning, MS Cartography, MS Planning.
|The department weather station is established—now the David James Memorial NWS Weather Station.
|The Geography Department moved into the 6th floor of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower (it’s current location); BS Cartography introduced; Chair: Russell Horiuchi (-1988).
|Associate degrees are eliminated in our department and across the university. We receive a large grant from Intergraph for GIS workstations and software.
|Masters degrees are merged into a single program with three emphases.
|Travel and Tourism changed to an emphasis in BS Geography.
|Emphasis in Environmental Studies introduced
|First Chauncy Harris Distinguished Lecture; Global Studies added as the third emphasis of BS Geography, Planning renamed “Urban, Rural, and Environmental Planning.”
|Planning and GIS degrees become emphases of the BS Geography; Geospatial Intelligence added as a 6th emphasis.
|Ryan Jensen becomes 7th chair.
|ThinkSpatial established as a student-run GIS/Cartography consulting agency
|Daniel Olsen becomes 8th chair.
Professor Elliott Tuttle, 1958, teaching with our immortal chalkboard globe
“The Father of BYU Geography” was a mentor to many during his long career, including several future department faculty; one of our department scholarships is named in his honor.
Students posing in front of a map, 1958
Bob Layton and students studying air photos, 1958
Starting as our first cartography professor, Layton was instrumental in developing the professional aspects of the growing department, overseeing the introduction of programs in cartography, planning, and tourism.
GIS Lab, 1998
Our first computer lab was funded by Intergraph, including both their UNIX workstations and GIS software. Eventually, we transitioned to PCs with Esri ArcGIS.
Dr. Chad Emmett and the Geography Club, Zion N.P., 2003
Field trips have always been a fun and important part of experiencing geography
Dr. Plewe and BYU GIS alumni, 2013
Professional and academic conferences are always a great opportunity for faculty and alumni to reconnect and create new opportunities.
Faculty field trip, Lehi, 2006
A few professors looking at recent developments in the "Silicon Slopes" area. Can you tell who is who?