Event of the Week: Annual Ball

August 27, 2013

University Society Celebrates End of Term

There are lots of ways to celebrate the end of a successful year at uni with friends and colleagues, but a truly posh way is a formal masquerade ball.

The Herdman Society within the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Liverpool did just that on 8th March to “celebrate the achievements of the department throughout the year.” The Herdman Society is the undergraduate society of the department. It was named for William Herdman, who was the founder and benefactor for the original Department of Geology at the university.

In 1881, the Scottish marine zoologist and oceanographer was the first person to hold the Derby Chair of Natural History at Liverpool University College (later the University of Liverpool) and remained there until 1919. Herdman authored Founders of Oceanography and Their Work: An Introduction to the Science of the Sea in 1923.

As a professor he endowed the George Herdman Chair of Geology along with his wife, Jane, in 1916. The chair was named in memory of their son, a lieutenant in WWI who was killed at The Battle of The Somme. He also founded the Chair of Oceanography in 1919 and held that position for a year.

After his wife’s death in 1922, he played a large part in the funding of new geology laboratories, which were completed in 1929. The Jane Herdman Building now houses laboratories for rock deformation, seismological studies and a cartographic suite.

Members of the department feel “the past and future of the solid Earth, the oceans and life are all inexorably linked.” Programmes in the department include geology, geophysics, ocean sciences, ecology and marine biology. The Liverpool institution was the first UK university to offer a degree in marine biology.

Several research opportunities are available to post-graduate students. The university is well known for research in the areas of volcanology, seismology, marine biology and climate change. They also offer research groups in many other disciplines, including geomagnetism, sedimentology and biogeochemistry.

Kerrell Walley, event secretary for the department, organized the ball and says the evening was quite memorable with “everyone making the effort to wear a mask and look fabulous.” They publicised with emails, Facebook, word of mouth, flyers and posters. Walley believes email blasts probably brought in the most participants.

Walley’s advice to other formal ball planners is to “make sure you have a plan to discuss numbers and other important considerations, this is vital to make an event a success!” Walley also says that once the hard work of organising is done they should “try not to stress and just have fun” during the event.

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