Earth – the source of everlasting inspiration
The Faculty of Earth Sciences of the Nicolaus Copernicus University (NCU) in Toruń upholds the rich traditions of the Stefan Batory University’s geography and geology centre in Vilnius. It were professors from that university, later joined by academics from other Polish higher education institutions, who laid the foundation for earth sciences at the newly-established university in Toruń.
Early days of the earth sciences at NCU
The Department of Geography was the first geography unit of the NCU, set up as a section of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science on the 1st of October, 1945. Dr. Mieczysław Limanowski, a former professor of the Stefan Batory University (SBU) in Vilnius, was the first Chair of the department. At the same time, the Department of Geology was established and chaired by Dr. Edward Passendorfer, also a former SBU professor. The formation of the two departments enabled the university to launch its first geography courses in the autumn of 1945. At the end of 1945, the Department of Anthropogeography was formed as part of the Faculty of Humanities, and chaired by Professor Maria Kiełczewska-Zaleska. On the 1st of October 1950, the unit was assigned to the Faculty of Mathematics and Science as the Third Department of Geography.
In the middle of 1946, Professor Rajmund Galon took over the original Department of Geography (later renamed the Department of Physical Geography). In 1947, the Department of Meteorology and Climatology was established with Professor Władysław Gorczyński as the Chair. The departments of geology, physical geography, anthropogeography, and meteorology and climatology all laid the groundwork for the future centre of earth sciences in Toruń.
Departments of Geography and Geology of the Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences
On the 1st of September 1951, the Faculty of Mathematics and Science was reorganised, giving rise to the Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences, which comprised the new Complex of Geography Departments.
The Institute of Geography of the Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences
By order of the Minister of Education on the 1st of December 1969, the Institute of Geography was established as a separate unit of the NCU’s Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences. The Institute was comprised of the Complex of Geography Departments, as well as the Department of Geology and the Department of Petrography and Mineralogy. Professor Rajmund Galon was the first director of the Institute of Geogrpahy and held the position until 1975, followed by professors Władysław Niewiarowski (1975-1987), Zygmunt Churski (1987-1997), Jan Falkowski (1997-2002), Leon Andrzejewski (2003-2010) and Zbigniew Podgórski (2011-2012).
The Faculty of Earth Sciences
On the 29th of May 2012, the Rector of the Nicolaus Copernicus University approved a resolution to upgrade the status of the Institute of Geography, which until then had been part of the Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences, transforming it into the new Faculty of Earth Sciences from the 1st of September 2012. It would become the 17th faculty of the university in Toruń. Professor Wojciech Wysota was appointed the first dean of the new faculty.