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In Fiscal Year 2001 (October 1, 2000-September 30, 2001), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) started a new postdoctoral research program called the Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program in honor of Walter C. Mendenhall (1871-1957), the fifth Director of the USGS. President Hoover appointed Mendenhall as the Director in 1930 when the USGS's budget was $2.87 million.
Mendenhall joined the USGS in 1894 upon graduation from Ohio Normal University. He mapped Appalachian coal fields, did pioneering work on the geology of Alaska, and was one of the first ground water specialists in the Water Resources Branch in 1903. His study of the principles of ground water hydrology helped to establish it as a field of scientific endeavor. Mendenhall was also the Chief Geologist for 8 years prior to his appointment as the Director.
Mendenhall's directorate was pivotal in the history of the U.S. Geological Survey. In spite of the difficult times during the Depression and the beginning of World War II, he encouraged the USGS, as he had the Geologic Branch, to emphasize the necessity of basic research and created an environment in which, in the words of the Engineering and Mining Journal, "scientific research, technical integrity, and practical skill could flourish."
Dr. Rama K. Kotra
Office of the Associate Director for Geology
703-648-6271 - email@example.com