Dean Phil Hartman and Provost Nowell Donovan announce the appointment of Monnig Meteorite Gallery Curator Rhiannon Mayne as the founding Oscar and Juanita Monnig Chair of Meteoritics and Planetary Science. The new role will bring new opportunities to the Gallery and the School of Geology, Energy & the Environment.
Mayne is a native of the United Kingdom, and joined TCU in 2009 after working at the Smithsonian. She earned her bachelors in geology at Edinburgh University and her Ph.D. in geology from the University of Tennessee.
“I am pleased we now formally recognize that a portion of the Monnig endowment provides funding for such an outstanding scientist as Dr. Mayne. The Monnig collection and gallery are among TCU’s jewels. This is a real win for the College of Science & Engineering, and for TCU,” said Hartman.
The Oscar E. Monnig Meteorite Collection is one of the largest university-based meteorite collections in the world, and was donated to TCU over a period of eight years. Monnig died in 1999, and funding from his estate went toward the former geology department to maintain the collection. The Gallery opened in February of 2003.
“The displays are magical and open wide the doorways of the imagination,” said Donovan. “To touch a piece of Mars and see the tiny chondrules that are the basic building blocks of the Solar System are high time for all who quest for meaning and knowledge.”
The collection includes nearly 3,000 samples from more than 2,300 different meteorites. The collection is extensive; about 95 percent of the samples are not on display in the Gallery, and are instead used for education through outreach programs and scientific research.
“This opportunity means that TCU is investing in the future of the collection, which is exceptionally important to me. This move should help the collection continue to grow,” Mayne said. “The endowed chair emphasizes how important the collection is to TCU.”
The Gallery is always free to visitors, and welcomes school group tours. The Gallery is located on the TCU campus in the Sid W. Richardson Building. It is open Monday-Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.