Woodford-Eckis Lecture Series

The Woodford-Eckis Lectureship, endowed by Rollin ’27 and Caroline Eckis, was initiated in 1980 in honor of Professor A.O. Woodford, or “Woody” as most called him. Woodford founded the Geology Department in 1922 and taught until his retirement in 1955. No doubt Woody’s crowning achievement over those years was his production of outstanding geology students, including Rollin Eckis, who spent his entire career in the oil business, particularly with Richfield and later ARCO where he retired from the position of executive vice-president. Eckis served on the Pomona College Board of Trustees from 1958-1977.

Based on discussions with the department and a couple of close alumni, it was decided to use Rollin’s gift to establish this annual lectureship at which an outstanding geologist, whether or not a geology alumnus or alumna, would present a major banquet talk followed by a research lecture/seminar the next day. This affair is one of the highlights of our academic year.

Workplace locations in the list below were accurate as of the year the speaker gave their Woodford-Eckis Lectures.


2024- Michele Cooke (UMass, Amherst)

  • “What Can Tiny Faults tell us about Seismic Hazards: New Tools for Understanding the San Andreas and other Fault Systems”
  • “From Alert to Action: Accessibility of Earthquake Early Warning for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons"

2023 - Emily Cooperdock (USC)

  • “Does Mantle Weathering Help Maintain a Habitable Planet?”
  • “Weaving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Education”

2022 - Eleanour Snow '82 (USGS)

  • “Be a JEDI!: Why the Spotlight is on Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Geosciences, and How to Accelerate Change”
  • “Education, Outreach, and Mentoring: A Path through Academia to Public Service”

2021 - Held virtually, with 3 guest lectures:

Anne Gothmann  (St. Olaf College)

  • “Fossil Corals as Archives of Cenozoic Seawater Chemistry”

Wendy Panero (Ohio State University)

  • “Earth as a Model for Rocky Exoplanets: Describing Earth 2.0”

Martha Gilmore (Wesleyan University)

  • “Radiophysical Properties of Venus Highlands”

2020 - Robert M Hazen (Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory and George Mason University)

  • “Chance, Necessity, and the Origins of Life”
  • “The Story of Earth: How Life and Rocks have Co-Evolved”

Previous Lecturers

2010 - 2019


2019 - Tracy Gregg (SUNY Buffalo)

  • “21st Century Mars: Our Changing Views of the Red Planet”
  • “Driving in the Dark: Exploring Mid-Ocean Ridges as an Analog to Venus”

2018 - Isabel Montañez (UC Davis)

  • “Deep-Time (Geologic) Insight into Earth’s Future”
  • “Reconstructing CO2-climate-vegetation feedbacks during Earth’s penultimate icehouse”

2017 - Marcia McNutt (President - National Academy of Sciences)

  • “How Basing Decisions on the Best Scientific Evidence has Impacted our Everyday Lives”
  • “Advice for Communicating Science to Broad Audiences: Do's and Don'ts”

2016 - Jim Secord '75 (Cambridge University)

  • “Global Geology and the Empire of Tectonics”
  • “Charles Darwin and the World of Geology”

2015 - Don Swanson (USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory)

  • "Kilauea volcano in Hawaii: When she's good, she's very, very good, but when she's bad, she's horrid"
  • "Kilauea calder: Its formation and the ensuing 300 years of explosive activity"

2014 - Doug Yule '83 (California State University, Northridge)

  • "Great earthquakes on the Southern San Andreas fault: How large, how frequent?"
  • "Paleoseismology of the San Andreas fault at San Gorgonio pass"

2013 - E. Bruce Watson (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

  • "The environment of earliest Earth: Decoding the oldest zircons"
  • "Growth-rate effects on crystal composition: From phenocrysts to climate proxies"

2012 - John Grotzinger (California Institute of Technology)

  • "Going to Gale: A Search for Habitable Environments on Mars"
  • "Building Curiosity"

2011 - Ramón Arrowsmith (Arizona State University)

  • "Recent Slip History of the South-Central San Andreas Fault"
  • "Surface Processes and Fault-Related Deformation Using LiDAR Topography"

2010 - Kathy Cashman (University of Oregon)

  • "Mount St. Helens: A Tale of Three Decades"
  • "Bubbles and Bangs: When are Volcanic Eruptions Explosive?"

2000 - 2009


2009 - Lonnie Thompson (Ohio State University)

  • "Global Climate Change: A Paleoclimate Perspective from the World’s Highest Mountains"
  • "Climate Histories from Tropical Glaciers and the Evidence for Asynchronous Glaciation"

2008 - Allen Glazner ’76 (University of North Carolina)

  • "Granite and the Unique Landscape of Yosemite National Park: New Thoughts on an Old Problem"
  • "What Controls Space-Time Patterns of Cenozoic Magmatism in Western North America: Plate Tectonics, Delamination, or Convection?"

2007 - Phil Christensen (Arizona State University)

  • "Mars: New views of a Changing Planet"
  • "The Geologic Evolution of Mars: The Competing Roles of Volcanism, Wind, and Water"

2006 - Ray Weldon ’77 (University of Oregon)

  • "Past and Future Earthquakes on the Southern San Andreas Fault"
  • "The 1700 AD M9 Earthquake and Tsunami on the Oregon Coast ; How bad was it and when will it happen again?"

2005 - Sorena S. Sorensen ’78 (Smithsonian Institution) and Matthew J. Fouch ’93 (Arizona State University)

  • "Jade Hunting in Subduction Zone Metamorphic Terrains and the Cathodoluminescence Laboratory" – Sorensen
  • "Exploring Earth’s Deep Interior: Earthquakes, Diamonds, and Earth’s Oldest Rocks" – Fouch

2004 - Laurie L. Brown (University of Massachusetts)

  • "Magnetism on the Move: Chasing Field Reversals in South America"
  • "Earth Analogs for Martian Magnetic Anomalies"

2003 - Herbert V. Frey (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

  • "Mars: More than the Moon, Less than the Earth"
  • "MOLA and the Hidden History of Mars"

2002 - Eric T. Sundquist ’70 (U.S. Geological Survey)

  • "Adventures in Carbon Cycle Science: From Cottage Industry to Global Enterprise"
  • "The Cycling of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide: Natural Variability from Hours to Eons"

2001 - Calvin Miller ’69 and Molly Miller (Vanderbilt University)

  • "Antarctica: Tales from the Earth’s Past, Clues to its Future"
  • "Granite as Builder and Historian of the Crust"

2000 - Jan A. Tullis (Brown University)

  • "How Rocks Flow and How We Know"
  • "Interpreting the Microstructural Record in Deformed Crustal Rocks"

1990 - 1999


1999 - Arthur G. Sylvester ’59 (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • "Taking the Pulse of California’s Earthquake Faults"
  • "Origin and Emplacement of Granite Plutons: A Problem Solved?"

1998 - Robert I. Tilling ’58 (U.S. Geological Survey)

  • "Volcanoes, Volcano Hazards, and Society"
  • "Volcano Monitoring and the ‘Art’ of Eruption Forecasting"

1997 - David A. Clague (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

  • "Geologic Hazards and Risks: Living on an Active Volcano in Hawaii"
  • "Submarine Geology of Hawaii: Landslides, Lava Flows, and Drowned Coral Reefs"

1996 - David D. Pollard ’65 (Stanford University)

  • "Science, Politics, and Adventure at Katmai Volcano: Who Benefits when the Goals of Scientists and Environmental Clash"
  • "Using 3D Seismic Data and Geomechanical Models to Investigate Slip Distributions on Faults"

1995 - John S. Shelton ’35

  • "A Feel for How the Earth Works"
  • "The Aerial Perspective"

1994 - Robert H. Dott, Jr. (University of Wisconsin—Madison)

  • "What a Fickle Datum is Sea Level: A History of Ideas about Relative Sea and Land Levels"
  • "The Enigma of Pure Quartz Sandstones and Their Distribution in Time"

1993 - Eldridge M. Moores (University of California—Davis)

  • "The North America-Antarctic Connection and Possible Clues to the Origin of Animals"

1992 - Bruce A. Bolt (University of California—Berkeley)

  • "Prediction of Strong Shaking in Earthquakes"
  • "What Risk is Acceptable in Earthquake Country?"

1991 - Gail A. Mahood (Stanford University)

  • "Volcanic Hazards in the Western United States"

1990 - J. William Schopf (University of California—Los Angeles)

  • "The Oldest Known Fossils: A Late Look at the Earliest Evolution of Life"
  • "The Rise and Fall of the Proterozoic Biosphere"

1981 - 1989


1989 - Robert P. Sharp (California Institute of Technology)

  • "Geology in our Own Back Yard"
  • "Reincarnation of a Geologist"

1988 - Harrison H. Schmitt (Apollo 17; U.S. Senator, New Mexico)

  • ‘A Trip to the Moon on Apollo 17′
  • ‘Evolution of the Moon: the View from Taurus-Littrow’

1987 - Douglas M. Morton(U.S. Geological Survey)

  • ‘Geology of the Northern Peninsular Ranges and Adjacent Transverse Ranges’
  • ‘Alkali-Silicate Rocks, Mountain Pass, California’

1986 - Thane H. McCulloh ’49

1985 - John G. Vedder ’48

1984 - Warren O. Addicott ’51

1983 - Mason L. Hill ’26

1982 - Roger R. Revelle ’29

1981 - C. Barry Raleigh