Charles G. Groat, a 1962 graduate of the University of Rochester, has been nominated by President Clinton to head the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). A hearing on the nomination has been scheduled for later this week in Washington by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; if approved, the full Senate must then confirm the appointment.
Groat earned a bachelor's degree from the University's Department of Geology, now the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. In addition to its graduate program, the department is known nationally for its strong undergraduate curriculum. Each year the department graduates about 40 students who have been active in classroom, laboratory and field activities.
The USGS -- with 10,000 employees, including experts in biology, geology, hydrology and mapping -- is the nation's primary source of information on geologic hazards, water, energy and mineral resources, and coastal and marine processes. Outdoor enthusiasts, school children, the media, and ordinary homeowners are among the people who rely on information from USGS every day. Its range of services includes performing basic research, providing topographic maps, gauging river levels, warning against hazards like landslides, and providing information on geologic processes to students.
Groat, 58, has spent decades both managing large geology research efforts and making that research relevant to society by working closely with legislators and others whose decisions affect policy about our natural resources. He is currently professor of geological sciences and associate vice president for research and sponsored projects at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he has directed the Center for Environmental Resource Management. He has also served as a faculty member at Louisiana State University and the University of Texas at Austin and was executive director of the American Geological Institute and director of the Louisiana Geological Survey.
He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Groat also earned a master's degree in geology from the University of Massachusetts and a doctoral degree in geology from the University of Texas at Austin.