Geology Department Alumni Accomplishments

By decade below, are the names, graduation years, and a brief note about various Pomona Geology Department alumni. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it shows many remarkable career accomplishments by our alumni in the Geosciences and other fields. Alumni from the 1950s to the present will be added soon.

We regularly update it, so if you’d like us to link to your professional page (e.g., LinkedIn or a Department page), please send an email to the chair of the department.

Alumni Accomplishments


  • Robert Diemer (PO’49) was a geology and economics double major who worked pipeline construction in southern California in various capacities over the years with American Pipe and Construction Company which later became Ameron.
  • Bill Mais (PO’49) initially worked for Shell Oil Company in Oklahoma and later returned to California and became an independent geologic consultant while tending to a citrus orchard of Navel and Valencia oranges.
  • Don Seely (PO’49) earned his graduate degrees from the University of Oklahoma was a structural geologist who taught at Oklahoma City University and also worked as a research scientist for Exxon.
  • Homer Simmons (PO’49) worked a distinguished career for Shell Oil Company. He was first posted Texas and Oklahoma with time spent in the Netherlands, before eventually becoming Chief of Operations in Louisiana, Mississippi, and offshore.
  • George Hilton (PO’48) became and USGS Hydrogeologist and eventually on the faculty at Merritt College in Oakland where he taught geology and geography and successfully instigated environmental studies. He took students on memorable extended field trips.
  • Arthur Krause (PO’48) combined geology and an MBA to sell equipment in the petroleum industry for many years.
  • Howard Stark (PO’) was a sedimentologist who worked for Richfield Oil and contributed notable work on studies of the Ventura Basin.
  • Jack Vedder (PO’48) is retired. In his work with the USGS on continental borderlands he published dozens of studies on the geology of coastal southern southern California, including studies with Jack Schoellhamer and Bob Yerkes. He conducted many ocean cruises on geology as far away as the south Pacific ocean.
  • Bob “Idaho” Coiner (PO’44) Became a potato farmer in Twin Falls Idaho after earning his degree at Pomona. He kept in close touch with the Department over the years, describing his activities, right down to how he used his geology skills to evaluate soils.
  • Don Van Sickle (PO’44) was one of many in the Department who saw their time at Pomona interrupted by service (to the Navy in Don’s case). He worked with the USGS with much of that work as regional geologist in Roswell, NM.
  • Frank Olmsted (PO’42;CGS’48) was highly respected hydrogeologist with the USGS for many years on both the east and west coasts. Some of his later efforts were devoted developing geothermal resources.
  • Alex McKenna (PO’42) became an inventor and entrepreneur specializing on work in hard metals and electromagnetism. He held patens for various devices.
  • Jack Schoellhamer (PO’42) much of the original field geology in the Santa Ana Mountains and Los Angeles Basin as a USGS scientist and became director of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center from 1970-74.
  • Martha Ryder Smith (PO’42) was the first woman graduate of the department to earn advanced degrees. Martha worked for the Utah Geological Survey.
  • Ed Sprotte (PO’42) became a quaternary geologist with USGS in southern California.
  • Dick Shelton (PO’41) had a long successful career with Marathon Oil Company becoming District Geologist for Los Angeles before his retirement.


  • 1939—(No Graduates). This is the only year since the founding of the Department when not a single major graduated.
  • Jane Everest Gregory (PO’38) worked as a paleontologist, working first at the Los Angeles County Museum, and then at Union Oil Company, until 1949.
  • Hal Shelton (PO’38) worked for USGS and was Chief Cartographic Engineer for USGS shaded relief map program. He was a pioneer of natural color maps, working alongside Jeppesen company in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Hubert L. Popenoe (PO’37) worked for Shell Oil Company for many years in California and the retired to work an avocado grove and later enjoy world travel with his wife Mary.
  • Rosalie Davis Matlovsky (PO’36) went on to work in zoology/life science at UCLA. She conducted plasma research at Gallinger Municipal Hospital in Washington DC during WWII and later worked as a clinical Laboratory Technologist at Thatcher Clinical Lab in Pasadena.
  • John C. Kinnear, Jr. (PO’36) went on to MIT to get a degree in metallurgy and worked as an economic geologist at Nevada Mines Division (General Manager) and then Vice President of Operations of Kennecott Mining.
  • George Bellemin (PO’35) collaborated with Richard Merriam to understand the origin of the Eocene Poway Conglomerate, which is widespread in southern California. He also was an instructor at Los Angeles City College for many years.
  • John Shelton (PO’35) went to Yale for graduate school before coming back to Pomona as a faculty member from 1945–1960. He combined his passions for flying, photography and geology to create the legendary textbook Geology Illustrated. John also worked for the Strategic Minerals Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey, and later served as an advisor on geology films.
  • Louis Simon (PO’35) studied micropaleontology and palynology and worked for Superior Oil and Texaco (Senior micropaleontologist).
  • Richard H. Merriam (PO’34) worked for USGS before WWII and played a significant role in installing an aqueduct to military facilities in San Diego area. He studied the regional geology of southern California and Baja on the faculty at USC for 30 years.
  • H. Stanton “Stan” Hill (PO’33) was an avid mineralogist and faculty member at Pasadena City College for 37 years, influencing hundreds of future geologists and. He also taught at Pomona and Caltech. Hill is honored with several awards and a Geology museum at PCC.
  • Jack Horton (PO’33) finished his Geology degree at Princeton University and worked for Sonocy-Vaccum Company (California and Venezuela) for many years, then as an independent geologist, and finally as VP and chief geologist of the Argentine Cities Service Minerals Corporation.
  • Thomas Berry Jr. (PO’32) worked for many years in sales for the Armstrong Cork Company.
  • Constance Boynton Nightingale (PO’32) was the first woman to graduate with a geology degree.


  • Roger Revelle (PO’29) was the first Director of Scripps Institute of Oceanography and founding chairman of the first Committee on Climate Change. Revelle first warned about the possible human role in greenhouse warming and was instrumental in setting up Hawaii’s NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory to monitor this impact.
  • William Hill (PO’28) earned an MBA from Harvard and worked for Eastman Kodak in Rochester New York. He traveled widely.
  • Manley Natland (PO’28) was a micropaleontologist who worked for Richland and Shell Oil Companies and was a past president of SEPM.
  • Murray Putnam (PO’28) was a petroleum engineer for Standard Oil Company in California for 42 years.
  • Robert “Bush” Burger (PO’27) mapped and interpreted Tertiary basins for Texaco before his untimely passing in 1945. His work on the Salton Trough was particularly important for understanding the tectonic evolution of California.
  • John M. Cowan (PO’27) worked in the Angeles National Forest as a safety inspector and was in the Navy in WWII and worked various jobs related to aggregate supply.
  • Rollin Eckis (PO’27) was Executive V.P. of Richfield Oil, and Pomona College Trustee. Discovered the major Southern California oil field in western Kern County, part of the National Petroleum Reserve. Played a key role in mapping groundwater resources of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
  • Lincoln Hall (PO’27) worked for Tube Turns, a supplier of fittings and flanges to the pipeline and energy industries.
  • John May (PO’27) became a petroleum geologist in California and Texas working for Associated Oil Company before becoming a consulting Geologist.
  • Frank Rentschler (PO’27) taught high school physical sciences in Pomona for many years, 28 of which he was in reserve and active service in the U.S. Air Force. He served as a ranger in Yosemite National Park for 23 summers.
  • Dana Russell (PO’27) was a pioneering sedimentologist studying modern sediments in the Mississippi River, then doing oceanographic research and later working for Marathon Oil Company.
  • Phillip Small (PO’27) worked for many years for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.
  • Mason L. “Mase” Hill (PO’26) was a field and petroleum geologist who discovered a number of oil fields in California, worked with Tom Dibblee for a time and did exploration with Richfield Oil for many years.
  • Paul Dudley (PO’25) completed seminal mapping of the Perris Block of the Peninsular Ranges before starting a long and productive career with Richfield Oil.
  • Russell D. Dysart (PO’25) was a long-time instructor of geology and mineralogy at Chaffey College. “Rocky” was know for the red tie he wore on many geological field trips with Chaffey students.
  • Charles Anderson (PO’24) studied ore deposits, volcanic rocks and pre-Cambrian geology and was chief geologist of the USGS from 1959-64. The mineral andersonite (Na2Ca(UO2)(CO3)3·6H2O) is named after him.
  • T.F. Harris (PO’24) conducted one of the first detailed studies of a plutonic complex in the Peninsular Ranges batholith.
  • Jack S. Rounds (PO’23) started a dental practice in Los Angeles and was active on the alumni board of the college.
  • Hugo Benioff (PO’21) graduated just before the founding of the Geology Department with an interest in Astronomy that quickly turned to seismology and a career defined by his studies of earthquake-focus depth in the Pacific Ocean, which were critical to the recognition of plate tectonics. He also was a passionate musician and designer of electronic instruments.


  • Robert L. Keyes (PO’17) was part of early development of the Long Beach oil field after its discovery in 1921.
  • A.O. Woodford (PO’13)—better know as Woody—graduated from Pomona College in 1913 and earned his Ph.D. in geology from Berkeley. His Ph.D. work showed that clasts in the conglomerates at San Onofre were shed from the same sources that comprise Catalina Island. His recognition of this provenance became a key piece in the story of the initiation of the San Andreas Fault system. He was also a keen mineralogist, toiling to understand the origins of mineral assemblages in the Crestmore marble quarry near Riverside. He also authored Principles of Geology (Gilluly, Waters, and Woodford, Freeman and Company), a textbook that was foundational in the education of countless geoscientists. Woodford first taught in the Chemistry Department at the College from the time he graduated in 1913, until 1922, at which time he spearheaded the creation of the Geology Department. Woodford was a one-man department for most of his time at Pomona. When he retired 1955, he handed over the reins to the great Donald B. McIntyre, who chaired the department until 1984. Woody lived to be 100 years old, and thus continued to be a presence in the Department well into the 1980s.