Peter Patton, professor of earth and environmental sciences, has been appointed as the first Alan M. Dachs Professor of Science, currently housed in the College of the Environment.
The endowed chair was created with the generous support of Alan Dachs ’70, P’98, chair emeritus of the Board of Trustees.
“I am delighted that Peter Patton will be the first to hold the Alan M. Dachs Chair in the Natural Sciences,” says Dachs. “It is only fitting that a scientist and teacher of his caliber should be recognized in this way. Wesleyan, and science at Wesleyan, have always come first in Peter’s professional life. He epitomizes the very best Wesleyan has to offer.”
Patton has taught at Wesleyan since 1976, making substantial contributions as chair of Earth and Environmental Sciences, as interim director of Information Technology Services, through twice serving as Interim Dean of the College and by serving as vice president and secretary of the University for ten years through 2008. He has served on numerous university committees including the 1994-1995 and 2007-2008 presidential search committees, and he led Wesleyan’s reaccreditation processes in 2002 and 2007.
He is lead or co-author of more than 40 publications, co-editor of Flood Geomorphology (Wiley, 1988), and author with J.M. Kent of A Moveable Shore: The Fate of the Connecticut Coast (Duke University Press, 1991). He has served on editorial boards for the Geological Society of America, has served as referee for numerous journals and granting agencies, won 17 grants and awards for his research, co-convened three geology symposia, and is regularly invited to serve on NSF panels, external review committees for geology departments, and on accreditation site visits.
He is an active member of the local community, having served on more than 10 state and local environmental agencies, commissions, chapters, boards, and non-profit organizations, including serving as head of the Middlesex United Way capital campaign in 2001.
He earned his B.A. at Franklin and Marshall College, his M.S. at Colorado State University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Texas, Austin.
Dachs is president and chief executive officer of the Fremont Group, a private investment company. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Bechtel Group, Inc. and the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, and a trustee of The Brookings Institution. He is a Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and serves on the corporation visiting committee for the engineering systems division of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the advisory board of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.
In 2007, he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wesleyan. He chaired the Development Committee and is currently tri-chair in the quiet phase of the next Wesleyan campaign.