Rev. Ronald J. Wasowski, C.S.C., associate professor of Environmental Science, passed away unexpectedly the evening of December 5, 2016 at the age of 70; in phased retirement and his last year of classroom teaching. At UP since 1998, offering general and upper division science courses, and contributing to student life as Mehling Hall Pastoral Resident, Voice for Life Chaplain, and more.
Which sounds sort of ordinary, maybe even dull. How about this? For the past three years, Fr. Wasowski was part of the University of Portland archaeological team, the Pollentia expedition, spending part of each summer in Mallorca, Spain. The excavation is uncovering a Roman-era city. Fr. Wasowski’s contribution to the team was the use of drones in Archaeology (tracing the outlines of city-walls, building foundations, and streets from the air), and nick-named “Father Drone” by expedition colleagues. He flew drones and taught classes where students spend class-time and homework FLYING camera-drones. Helicopter camera-drones, all too cool for the catalogue, where the course title is listed as ENV 384 / BIO 384 / CE 458 Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems, listed within the academic degree concentration Quantitative and Spatial Methods, which also requires course-work in Vector Calculus and Ordinary Differential Equations (bring on the drone lab).
He also knew far too much about rocks, minerals, meteor showers, and regular weather. Sharing enthusiasm and abiding inquiry with students and friends both.
Fr. Wasowski taught at the University of Notre Dame, King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, and the University of Portland, earning tenure twice (he departed Notre Dame when their Earth Sciences/Geology program folded).
Clark Library Digital Collection about the 2015 Pollentia Expedition
Fr. Ron Wasowski’s Aerial Photography – 2015 Pollentia Expedition
Photo gallery, click to enlarge images