A note from Camp Davis alumnus Fred Metzger:
“Non Tam Pares Quam Superiores” …”Not as Good as but Better Than”, that was the motto of the Michigan Marching Band during my days underDr. William D. Revelli and George Cavender. (Still is today!) The Band wasreally what kept me going at Michigan during my undergraduate years from1969-1973. For me, academics were just optional; it was all about the band and football, basketball and hockey. I was in the Engineering school but I really had no passion for it, and then I took my first Geology class in CC Little as an elective. I cameaway from that
class,taught by Ike Smith, thinking hey this is a little more fun than Engineering! It wasn’t long after that Geology became my major.
Many classes in geology quickly followed and I loved them all. I especially appreciated the professors. They taught with passion and enthusiasm. These professors, Ike Smith, Don Peacor, Abe Heinrich and Bruce Clark, changed my path from academic apathy to a passion for
success in the field of geology. I was then accepted to the Masters program in Geology at Michigan, all I had to do was complete field camp to graduate with a BS in Geology.
We van pooled out to Camp Davis and one of the first things I see in the Mess Hall is a sign over the door that proclaims: “Oh Joy Another Day to Excel”. What I learned in the band was always work hard, don’t accept mediocrity from yourself or anyone else and to always strive for
perfection in all that you do. Well this sign, as much as it was kind of mocked every day, really started me going every day. (It became a family favorite as well – ask my kids).
The class (Geo 440) itself was really eye opening. All the “book learning” came to life in what I still consider the best learning experience of my life. The books taught us about normal
faults, reverse faults, wrench faults etc. But when I SAW my first thrust fault in the field clearly seeing older rock thrust on top of younger rocks, everything changed! My eyes were opened to all the classroom lectures I had listened to back in Ann Arbor and a true dedication to my academic career finally became a reality.
The professors were also exceptional, how special it is to become close friends with your professors and call them by their first names…that was also a first for me! Professors that I basically met at Camp Davis and were a huge influence on my graduate program included,
John Dorr, Rob Van der Voo, Eric Essene, and of course my mentor Bill Kelly! These are gentlemen whose lessons I drew from during my entire career!
Camp Davis was also where I made some lifelong friends; I stood up in two weddings for class members and attended a total for 5 weddings from a class of 25! Many of them and several of the professors attended my wedding several years later and I still consider them close friends even after over 40 years!
So bottom line, Camp Davis inspired my academic career, and led to a lifelong career in the Energy industry. During my 40 year career as a geologist I was able to travel to all 50 states and much of the entire world. I got to places that office workers never get to see, and study the rocks and energy infrastructure in some of the most spectacular places in the world…and get paid to do that! How great is that?! My 40 year career was built on those basic field experiences that I first learned at Camp Davis, including how to write and present professionally. I was able to move up to the officer level of the third largest energy firm in America and made presentations all over the world…and I attribute the start of all this to my time at Camp Davis.
Camp Davis is still the most outstanding setting to learn field geology. However, the infrastructure is much the same as it was when I attended in the early 1970’s. Updates and
improvements are needed. Please reflect on your time at Camp Davis, and if you feel as strongly as I do, please consider supporting the department in the infrastructure initiative. Just go to
the Department webpage and follow the Camp Davis link to make your contribution. Let’s make Camp Davis a place that will educate and inspire future earth scientists well into the next century. “Non Tam Pares Quam Superiores”.