Allan McMaster Thompson, associate professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, died at age 72 on Aug. 27 in Wilmington, Del.
Born in Ithaca, N.Y., on May 22, 1940, to parents Craig Ringwalt Thompson and Isabella McMaster Thompson, he spent most of his childhood in Appleton, Wis.
He graduated with a bachelor of science from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and obtained his master’s degree and doctorate from Brown University in Providence, R.I. He joined UD’s Department of Geological Sciences in 1967.
In 1986, Dr. Thompson was honored with the University’s Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognized his unrelenting dedication to the quality education and experience of his students. His long career in earth science took him to many parts of the United States and abroad.
Known to his students as “Doc,” he is remembered for the many field trips he led to share his deep commitment to geoscience. For nearly 15 years, he taught the department’s summer field geology course, an intensive eight-week study that took students throughout the western United States and became a cornerstone of the undergraduate curriculum and experience.
He furthered his passion for geology and education by working with high school science teachers and by acting as the coordinator of the Secondary Science Education Program at UD from 1986–93. After 38 years at UD, Thompson retired in 2005 with emeritus status.
Professional geologist and scientist William “Sandy” Schenck of the Delaware Geological Survey said, “Doc Thompson’s gift to me while I was his student was his incredible heartfelt enthusiasm for rocks. We shared a great love for the special rocks of the Delaware Piedmont and I constantly try to pass that enthusiasm on to everyone I talk to about Delaware geology.”
Susan McGeary, associate professor of geological sciences, said, “He really cared about the students and they