New Mexico Tech alum Matthew L. Morgan will oversee a Colorado state agency that allows him to promote geosciences and STEM activities to schools and organizations. Morgan, who received his bachelor of science degree in geology from NMT in 1996, is the new director of the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) and the Colorado state geologist.
Originally from Milwaukee, Morgan relocated to Denver in 1996 after graduating from Tech and began his career with the CGS. He received a master’s degree in geology in 2006 from the Colorado School of Mines, where he studied the Alamo Meteorite Impact Breccia of southern Nevada. He has authored or contributed to over 100 journals, reports, maps and proceedings volumes on topics including geomorphology, minerals, landslides, earthquakes and meteorites.
As CGS director and state geologist, Morgan works on many scientific projects and manages the Geologic Mapping Program for Colorado. He recently received the Geological Society of America (GSA)/Association of American State Geologists (AASG) John C. Frey Memorial Award for best paper on environmental geology, titled “The West Salt Creek Landslide: A Catastrophic Rockslide and Rock/Debris Avalanche in Mesa County, Colorado.”
Morgan said he took a variety of classes his freshman year at NMT, ranging from engineering, physics, chemistry and geology. Geology 101, taught by David Johnson, proved to be a turning point.
“He was a true inspiration and wonderful instructor,” Morgan said of Johnson. “Being in Socorro, there was ample opportunity to study rocks and deposits in the field. I spent countless hours traveling the Back Country Byway with friends, hiking through canyons and over hills and looking at rocks. We would venture into the Magdalena Mountains, Water Canyon, the Kelly Mine, San Lorenzo Canyon, and just about anywhere a vehicle could take us. Undoubtedly, the area helped shape my desire to be a field geologist and my love of the desert.”
Morgan also credits Tech professors Peter Mozley and Bruce Harrison as outstanding advisors.
“They provided me with support when it was time to look at graduate schools,” he said. “Tech really did help prepare me for my career as a geologist — all of the professors were very knowledgeable, took time to personally work with students, and explain things while in the field.”
Morgan, his wife Karen, and their two children, Kylie and Elena, live in Lakewood.