Alumnus Dr Alan Temple visits SEE

On Tuesday 14th October, the School of Earth and Environment welcomed former student Alan Temple (BSc Geology 1951 and PhD 1954) on his first visit back to Leeds since 1957.

Alan met staff and students from across the School as he enjoyed a programme of activities which included giving a talk as well as a tour of both the School and campus. In walking from Parkinson Court to SEE, Alan pointed out the old Department of Geology building, now part of The School of Education on Hillary Place, and was pleased to see how the campus and University as a whole has grown and changed. For example, he described how in 1951 he graduated from the BSc Geology degree with just 6 fellow students; this year saw a record 96 students enrolled into the first year of the BSc Geological Sciences programme!

Alan’s talk to staff and students was entitled “Reflections on 60 years as a Professional Geologist”. He provided insight into how his career in industry developed and emphasized the value of an advanced degree. He offered advice to students on the many options open to them and contrasted today with the 1950’s expectation of a career in the Colonial Geological Survey.  

Alan enjoyed the opportunity to walk around the SEE building, including visiting the Geochemistry Labs and Rock Store, where he was reunited with some of the thin sections which he prepared for his PhD studies in the early 1950s! Alan said afterwards, “I was very impressed with the facilities and equipment – in my days we had one X-ray diffraction unit and a spectrograph”. After lunch at University House with staff and students from SEE, Alan joined a final year practical class where he could talk with current undergraduates informally. Finally, he was able to have a quick walking tour of the wider campus, in typically wet Yorkshire weather, to see familiar Victorian terraces and Clothworkers Court, The Great Hall and the Parkinson Building as well as the recent purpose-built developments such as The Edge Sports Centre, the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building and the soon-to-be-completed  Undergraduate Library.

For more information about visiting the School of Earth and Environment and/or the wider University Campus, please contact Joanna Bowen via alumni(at)