Founder and First Chairman of the Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI Leaves a Legacy of Unwavering Commitment

Release Date: 
Jun 28 2012

Art MirskyThe School of Science at IUPUI mourns the June 23 passing of Dr. Arthur Mirsky, the founder of the geology department at IUPUI and an ardent supporter for what is now the Department of Earth Sciences.

Dr. Mirsky served as a field geologist and consultant in uranium exploration in the Southwest and Rocky Mountains before coming to IUPUI in 1967 to start a new geology program. He proudly served the Department of Earth Sciences even after his retirement in 1993, serving for 26 years as the first faculty chairperson and most recently as a professor emeritus. He last taught a course in geoscience writing in Spring 2012. 

“Art’s passion was geology from sun up to sun down,” said Gary Rosenberg, an associate professor of Earth Sciences who worked closely with Mirsky through the years.

“Art was the consummate teacher who prepared his students for fulfilling careers in Earth Sciences, and they have consistently praised him and his impact on them as among the most valuable attributes the department imparted to them,” Rosenberg added.

Earth Sciences chairsThe Mirskys were strong supporters of Earth Sciences through scholarship opportunities. The Dr. Arthur Miirsky Geology Scholarship Fund has been a signficant resource for many students through the years.

“We believe in education. We believe in students. That, more than anything, is the reason we decided to establish the scholarship,” Dr. Mirsky said in 1996.

Kevin Mandernack, current chair of the Department of Earth Sciences, said Dr. Mirsky’s leadership and commitment to the department remained resolute. 

“Art was passionately committed to the student learning experience in every respect,” Mandernack said. “Students loved Art and that was clearly evident during the recent alumni picnic, where alumni spanning several decades attended in a large part to show their respect and admiration for him.”

Dr. Mirsky’s research interests included applied geology, including how society can best use its limited geologic resources and how those resources have influenced the development of human history. He also had extensive experience in urban geology as well as the study of Antarctic rocks. He served as assistant director of the Institute of Polar Studies at the Ohio State University from 1960-1967. He earned his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1960.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Patricia (Shorey) Mirsky, a daughter Alexis Mirsky and brothers Marvin and Harris.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers memorial donations be made to the Arthur Mirsky Scholarship Fund, Department of Earth Sciences, IUPUI, 723 W. Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46202.