Skip over navigation

Alumni Newsletter 2012-2013

Celebration for Jan Tullis

On June 15, 2013 alumni, faculty and staff came together to celebrate the profound contributions that Jan Tullis has made to undergraduate teaching and mentoring throughout her career. 

Jan has been an essential part of the Brown University Geological Sciences Department family since 1970. Her compassion, skill and dedication to her students, both current and former, is legendary.  Those students came out in force to honor Jan in a big way. The response to this celebration for Jan was extraordinary! More than 100 alumni, current students and colleagues came together from as far away as Myanmar (Fatma Khatib ’05) and Alaska (Tina Neal ’81) for the opportunity to re-connect with Jan and each other and to share updates on their lives and share memories of their time at Brown University.  Shauna Edson ’05, graciously offered her scrapbooking skills and created a beautiful Memory Book composed of recollections, stories, memories and photos sent to us by alumni over six months and which was presented to Jan at the dinner. It was a really lovely day and Jan was so touched by the enthusiastic response.


Photo: Beavertail! Field trip participants enjoy the picturesque scenery! Photo courtesy of Kathleen Cantner.

After a week of rain and chilly, dreary weather, June 15th dawned sunny and breezy; a perfect day for a field trip to Beavertail in Jamestown, RI. As those who’ve taken GE 22 know, field trips are an integral part of the course work! The motor coach arrived at 9:00 a.m. for at 9:30 a.m. departure. Boxed lunches were loaded into the bus, name- tags were passed out, and sunscreen was applied in preparation for the day. While the field trip included some real geology, its primary goal was to provide an opportunity to get together.  All attendees reported that it was a great time and the weather was fully cooperative!

photo: (L-R) Mary Seid ’06, Kathleen Cantner ’06, Brian Yellen ’06, Shauna Edson ’05, Ren-Horng Wang ’06. Photo courtesy of Ren-Horng Wang.

The motor coach returned to the GeoChem building at 2:30 p.m. to give folks a chance to either rest up in preparation of the evening’s events or to catch up with Jan (she was out on MacMillan Green by the rocks). Undergrad concentrators Julia Carr and Rory MacFarlane volunteered to conduct tours of the Department for those interested and had the energy after all that walking!

The main event of the day was an informal reception and dinner, in Jan’s honor, held at the Faculty Club. A very generous anonymous donor requested to cover the cost of the reception and dinner, and in keeping with the donor’s wishes, we enjoyed a New England themed menu. Bill Collins created a really nice slide show of Jan through the years, which everyone enjoyed viewing. It was a packed house, with over 100 guests in attendance!


Description: Macintosh HD:Users:pdavey:Desktop:Janandalums.jpg

Photo: Jan with alums Gina Snyder ’79 and Bo Garrison ’79.

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:pdavey:Desktop:OsbornTim.jpg

Photo: William Osborn ’81 chats with Tim Herbert during the reception

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:pdavey:Desktop:alums.jpg

Photo: Alums reconnecting! Elizabeth Denis ’10, Nina Carriero ’11, Katey Lesneski ’12 and Margaret Boettcher ‘98

As the reception wound down, guests were invited into the dining room, where Chair Tim Herbert kicked off the evening with a toast to Jan, and Shauna Edson ’05 presented Jan with the Memory Book.

After guests enjoyed a delicious dinner, Karen Fischer and Greg Hirth opened the floor for testimonials to Jan. There was a steady stream of alums that stepped up to the microphone to fete Jan and to express the great impact she’s had on their lives. Some folks had their comments written beforehand, some spontaneously queued up to share a memory or story.  Many stories were funny and all were heartfelt.  Jan was extremely touched by the outpouring of affection.

The evening ended with people trading email addresses and phone numbers with promises to keep in touch and to stay in touch. It was a really wonderful testimonial to Jan and her profound influence on her many students through the years!

Finally, through everyone’s generosity, over $17,000 has been raised in the field fund to honor Jan, and until the end of August 2013, an anonymous graduate will match dollar for dollar any new contribution to the fund up to a total of $10,000. Please consider contributing to the fund. It’s a great way to benefit students and a great way to further recognize Jan.

To view all the photos from Jan’s celebration, visit

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:pdavey:Desktop:Debbietalk.jpg

Photo: Debbie Thomas ’96 at the podium

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:pdavey:Desktop:janbenhug.jpg

Photo: Jan and Ben Holtzman ‘95

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:pdavey:Desktop:DaveJan.jpg

Photo: Jan and David Bristol ‘83