Award-winning professor retiring

Jennifer Shore

Award-winning professor Peter Dahl is retiring from teaching at the end of this semester after sharing his passion for geology with Kent State students for 33 years.

“I’ll just never forget the first drive onto the campus. Up Summit Street with all of the trees in bloom and branches hanging over the street, you get this tunnel effect.” Dahl said. “Then the first thing you see is McGilvrey Hall. I have that image embedded.”

Dahl said he first thought, “Wow, this place is going to be great.” He said it has been a privilege to work for Kent State, and he has been very grateful ever since he was hired.

“I hope I’ve made a difference here, in teaching and research,” Dahl said. “You only hope that you’ve made an impact that you can be happy with.”

Geology department chair Daniel Holm said Dahl has written over 40 papers, advised almost 30 graduate students and been nominated for a number of awards.

“His passion is definitely for teaching, but he has a good research record,” Holm said. “He’s been a very effective teacher in the department.”

Chad Stare, post-undergraduate integrated science major, was a student in one of Dahl’s earth history classes in the fall. Stare said he is planning on becoming a teacher someday and hopes to model his future classes off of what he learned from Dahl.

“It was great to be able to be taught by him,” Stare said. “He knew what he was talking about, and he was comfortable with how he presented it.”

Stare said that Dahl presented material in a way that showcased his experience, but incorporated current events to snag the interests of students.

Holm said because many Kent State students do not come in as geology majors, the LER classes are crucial to recruiting students. He said even students with majors unrelated to science have been able to enjoy Dahl’s classes because he is personable and inspirational.

“Faculty can be fairly intense and focused, but he was always willing to chat in the hallways with students and joke around with them,” Holm said. “I think that will be missed.”

Dahl is obviously willing to share his teaching with the students, but he said he learned that students are wonderful, ambitious, inspirational people.

“[The students] keep me young,” Dahl said. “I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to teach thousands of wonderful people. I’m also humbled by the fact that trying to figure out the history of the earth is complicated.”

Although Dahl is retiring from teaching, he said he will still maintain an office to work on research, but he isn’t ruling out the possibility of coming out of retirement in a few years to teach an upper-division course or two.

“The rocks still retain a lot of secrets, and I’m grateful to have figured out a few of them, but humbled by the fact that there were many secrets that I never unraveled,” Dahl said. “I leave that for the next generation.”

Contact arts and sciences reporter Jennifer Shore at [email protected].