“As a member of the faculty for more than 25 years, Rich knows the faculty, staff and students in the department, and he understands the research they are conducting,” said Jayanth Banavar, dean of the UMD College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “I am pleased to welcome such an extraordinarily talented scholar to the college leadership team.”
Walker joined UMD in 1990 as an assistant professor in geology and was promoted to associate professor in 1993 and to professor in 1998.
“During my career at Maryland, I have observed the upward trajectory of the geology department and hope to help the department continue on that path as chair,” said Walker. “We have enviable undergraduate and graduate programs, and highly collegial faculty and staff members—two important factors for excellence."
Walker is a fellow of the Geochemical Society, European Association of Geochemistry and the American Geophysical Union. He also received the University of Maryland Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize and the Geochemical Society Clarke Medal, and was recognized as one of the 250 most cited researchers in the field of geosciences between 1988-2008. Walker has published nearly 200 articles and book chapters, and has advised and mentored dozens of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students, and junior faculty members.
Walker’s research focuses on the geochemical evolution of Earth’s crust and mantle, the origin and evolution of early solar system materials, and the origin and formation of granites, granitic pegmatites and ore systems. Walker earned his bachelor’s degree in geology from the College of William and Mary, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in geology from State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Walker replaces Roberta Rudnick, who will be leaving UMD at the end of the year to become a professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. During Rudnick’s time as chair, the department celebrated its 40th anniversary, created a Facebook page and revamped its annual newsletter—all in an effort to strengthen connections with alumni. The department also created a lounge for students, began a department endowment, moved all department personnel from multiple campus buildings into the geology and chemistry buildings, and recruited outstanding faculty and staff members.
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About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 7,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $150 million.