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Harrison named state geologist, director of KGS



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William Harrison, interim state geologist and interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey at KU, has been named to the positions on a permanent basis. His appointment follows a national search and is effective immediately.

William Harrison

"The KGS is primarily about serving the state through research and outreach," said Harrison. "It's a privilege for me to be able to work with and lead an outstanding staff of people who share that priority. Our goal is to understand the geology of Kansas and provide our research to the public, so that we can make better use of all our resources: energy, water, minerals and people."

The Survey, which reports to the vice provost for research, is a research and service division of KU and is headquartered on KU's west campus in Lawrence. It also operates an oil and gas well sample library in Wichita. The Survey has a legislative mandate and a statewide mission to study geologic resources and hazards, such as sinkholes and faults. Its primary focus is on issues related to oil and natural gas production, the status of the state's ground water and geologic mapping. More information about the Survey is available at

Harrison succeeds M. Lee Allison, who became policy adviser for science and energy to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Kansas Energy Council in 2004 after five years at KU. In December, Allison was named Arizona state geologist and director of the Arizona Geological Survey.

"The KGS performs a vital function in Kansas," said KU Chancellor Robert E. Hemenway, "one that's closely tied to economic development, transportation, agriculture and the quality of life in our state. Bill has a strong academic and industry record, has long been associated with the KGS in a senior leadership role and has done an excellent job during the interim."

Harrison joined the Survey in 1997 as deputy director and was named chief geologist in 2000. From 1975 to 1984, he held joint appointments in the Oklahoma Geological Survey and the School of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma. While at OU he was active in the National Science Foundation's Deep Sea Drilling program, was named the Klabzuba Chair of Geology and served as president of the Oklahoma Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists.

A substantial part of his career has been in the private sector. He has held management positions with Lockheed-Martin, EG&G and Atlantic Richfield. He was also an exploration geologist with Shell Oil Company in Houston and New Orleans.

His academic background includes a bachelor's in geology from Lamar State College of Technology in Texas, a master's in geology from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in organic geochemistry from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Harrison is author or co-author of 75 research articles and presentations and has been active throughout his career in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

"Bill understands the important role of the KGS in the research and service missions of the university and is working to build closer ties with the rest of the campus," said Jim Roberts, vice provost for research. "He recognizes that all public service at KU begins with teaching and research and has provided outstanding leadership the past two years and made excellent hires during the interim. Thanks to his efforts, the KGS is in a strong position and poised to be of even greater service to Kansas."