Gene L. LaBerge, 1995 Goldich Medal Recipient
For all of you associated with the Institute on Lake Superior Geology, I am pleased and honored to introduce you to Gene L. LaBerge as this year's recipient of the Sam Goldich Medal. The medal is awarded "to a geologist whose name is associated with a substantial interest in, or a major contribution to, the geology of the Lake Superior region". Gene is certainly worthy on both counts.
Gene was born and raised in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, appropriately, the home of the recently developed Flambeau Mine.
After a stint in the u.S. Marine Corps, he began his geology education at OW-Superior, eventually obtaining his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology from OW-Madison. The topic of his dissertation related to the origin of magnetite in iron-formation.
Gene's first two summer jobs, while he was a graduate student, introduced him to aspects of geology that were to become his primary research interests. In 1957, he was hired by Ralph Marsden of U.S. Steel in Ishpeming, Michigan to explore for iron-formation. Ralph and Stan Tyler of OW-Madison, Gene's future Ph.D. advisors, would include the summer help on regional field trips to look at iron-formation. Gene claims that it was a direct result of the questions posed by Ralph and Stan that inspired his research interest in this area. It has led.to 6 publications in international journals, numerous presentations at national meetings, and the editing of a book on Precambrian iron-formations. In 1958, Gene worked for O.S. Steel as a field assistant to Ced Iverson doing a pebble survey in Wisconsin. After identifYing several billion pebbles that summer, Gene was convinced that the Precambrian geology of Wisconsin was more than a "green blob" on the map. In 1969, he conceived and initiated a regional mapping and Natural History Survey under the direction of George F. Hanson. On the advice of Carl Dutton, the project was'begun in central Wisconsin near Wausau. Since 1982, support for this on-going research has been provided by the u.S. Geological Society. This program has resulted in several national publications, numerous reports and maps for both the WGNHS and the USGS, and over 30 papers at professional meetings. In 1994, this work was collated to form the basis of his book, Geologv of the Lake Superior Region.
I know Gene best in the role of educator. In 1965, he joined the faculty at OW-Oshkosh as the third member of the department with the charge of designing and building the geology program. Since he began teaching, he has led in excess of 100 overnight student trips. I remember Gene saying that he "walked over more of Wisconsin that almost anyone -- from Baraboo to Lake Superior". We didn't doubt it, but wondered ifhe meant to add "on the same trip". He sure seemed to have the stamina. Recently Gene confided in me that a major stimulus for his work in central Wisconsin was the students' questions, "So simple, yet so difficult to answer". As a testament to his success in academia, Gene has received all of the teaching and research awards that OW-Oshkosh offers, the only faculty member to have done so.
Gene also has a long history with the ILSG. Gene attended his first meeting in Duluth in 1958 and presented his first paper at the 1960 meeting in Madison. Since that time, he has presented over 20 papers and led or co-led 5 field trips with accompanying guides.
Through the years, Gene and I have interacted on many levels, teacher, mentor, fellow guitar player, researcher, colleague and most rewardingly, as a friend. As the 16th recipient of the Goldich Medal, he joins an elite and distinguished group. I am pleased to present to you, Gene LaBerge.
Submitted by Tim Flood
Awarded May 15, 1995
41th Annual Institute on Lake Superior Geology