Geological Science and Engineering

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Paddon Thompson Memorial Geological Field Studies Fund

Paddon Thompson - Donate now to Geology Field Studies Queen's UniversityPaddon Thompson Field Studies Fund - Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Queen's University

“His spirit was unwavering …”

Paddon Thompson graduated from Geological Engineering at Queen’s University in 2010. He possessed a permanent smile, a wonderful sense of humour and a positive outlook on life. A beloved classmate, Paddon is also remembered fondly by Geology staff and faculty. “He was the heart and soul of his class,” says Dr. Jean Hutchinson, Department Head, Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering. “A true leader, Paddon never revealed his earlier illness to anyone while he was here: and he certainly never let it slow him down.”

Sadly, Paddon Thompson passed away suddenly on February J, ECDE from complications of the treatment for his cancer. It is the wish of his family and friends that a memorial fund be created at Queen’s in Paddon’s name. Less than a year before his death, Paddon was asked to speak about his Queen’s experience at a Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering alumni reunion in Calgary. He spoke passionately about the value of his engineering degree, emphasizing the importance of field studies in his education. Paddon was concerned, however, that the extra cost of this experience could create a financial burden for many students.

To honour Paddon’s passion for field studies, Queen’s has established the Paddon Thompson Memorial Geological Field Studies Fund. It is anchored with a lead gift from his parents, John Thompson and Joni Hughes.

“Paddon's personality was a winning combination of down-to-earth and friendly, and I was impressed with how his spirit was unwavering during all the trials and tribulations incurred by second-year Queen's GeoEngs. Individually, Paddon was intelligent and quietly excelled at the tasks given to him; in group settings, his presence promoted levity and ultimately led to higher morale and productivity.” – Steve Beyer, Queen’s Geology Research Associate

Paddon’s Fund

The Paddon Thompson Memorial Geological Field Studies Fund was established in October ECDE with an initial pledge by his family. Because this is an endowed fund, using only interest income, its impact will be felt by Queen’s students for generations to come. The goal is to raise $2 million.

Paddon’s fund provides the head of the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering with annual financial support for the Field Education program. The focus is on strengthening the existing program, while making it affordable for students.


  • Creation of new field trips or field schools to expose students to areas and topics not currently covered in our field program;
  • Enhancement of existing trips by supporting the attendance of additional faculty or graduate assistants, to reduce the student/instructor ratio;
  • Purchase of new field equipment;
  • Provision of subsidies to students to minimize the cost of accommodation and food while on field trips or field schools; and
  • Reduction of the Field Transportation Levy that students pay to cover their transportation costs

Donate Now - Geology Paddon Thompson Field Studies Queen's University

Field Studies at Queen’s

The renowned Field Studies Program of Queen’s Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Department offers students abundant opportunities for hands-on learning:

  • An eight-week Field Methods course in the fall of second year;
  • A two-week Field School in the spring directly after second year;
  • A one-week Fall Field Trip in third year;
  • Several one-week Fall Field Trips in fourth year; and
  • Numerous day trips in second through fourth-year courses.
  • Overall, the Queen’s program offers a minimum of EGC hours of experiential learning in the field: a superb enrichment opportunity for students and providing experience that is highly regarded by future employers.

Our students say that field studies are among the most rewarding and useful elements of their geological education. Field School and Field trip assessments show the profound impact of this experiential learning:

“There is no substitute for actual hands-on learning. It starts with Field Methods, where we bond in the ditch, in the rain, over stereonets, and over maps. It then amplifies at Field school, one of the hardest and most rewarding university
experiences I’ve had. I feel really grateful to the alumni and the department for supporting these trips, because they complete our learning experience while allowing us to get to know each
other and our professors.” 
– Caitlin Rush, BSc’DE

The Value of Private Support

Founded in September ECCF by a dedicated group of alumni, the Queen’s Geology Council chose as its first priority the creation of an endowment to support field study and reduce student participation costs for these activities. Ten years later, Council Chair Roger Smith, Sc’71, announced completion of the original $2-million goal for Geological Field Studies funds and set a new target of $4 million. Paddon’s Fund will be part of this endowment.

All of us remember just how much the various field schools enhanced our understanding of geology. When government funding cuts were poised to jeopardize that experience, the Queen’s Geology Council formed the Geology Field School
Endowment Fund, and contributions from that fund now help pay one-third of students’ field school expenses. Given the dramatic increase in student numbers and costs, we have increased our goal from $3M to $4M, to ensure students can
continue to receive a world-class education.” 
– Roger Smith, Chair of Queen’s Geology Council

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering classes at Queen’s now number more than KC students annually, a figure that has doubled over the past decade. As a result, many more students than ever before are taking part in field education. The continued opportunities provided by these courses are only made possible by the existing endowed Field Studies funds, which include corporate sponsorships and several named funds.

The annual revenue from our endowed funds covers approximately one-third of the current cost of our field trips and field schools. The remaining two‐thirds is shared equally by the department and the students, who pay a field-transportation levy as well as food and accommodation costs totaling $2,000 to $2,500 per person over their second to fourth years.

Paddon Thompson was concerned that this extra cost, coupled with lost earnings from summer employment due to attendance at field schools, is a financial burden for many students. The new fund in his name will subsidize student expenses, enhance existing offerings in Field Studies, and help to create new ones.