CORVALLIS, Ore. – Former students and other supporters have pledged $500,000 to establish an endowed professorship at Oregon State University in honor of geology professor emeritus Bob Yeats.
The Robert S. Yeats Professorship of Earthquake Geology and Active Tectonics will help support a faculty member who will build on Yeats’ legacy of research, education and advocacy. Yeats is a leading West Coast earthquake expert who has played a pivotal role in the discipline of earthquake geology.
“I am humbled that my name is attached to this position, and I consider it a great honor,” said Yeats. “Working at OSU following a decade at Ohio University has been the high point of my career, and I’m especially thankful for the great students who threw in their lots with me at a critical time in their lives.”
During his 36-year career at OSU and at Ohio University, Yeats mentored more than 50 graduate students, and many have gone on to successful careers in science and industry. More than 30 alumni and colleagues helped establish the Yeats professorship.
“Bob Yeats was a tough teacher of challenging subjects, and he truly provided us with the practical aspects of science,” said Gary Blackie, a former Yeats student and current president of Bois d’Arc Energy, LLC. “He was one of the professors who taught me the most, and I am glad to help recognize him with this professorship.”
OSU is home to a cluster of world-leading scientists, engineers and public policy experts specializing in tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and other natural disasters, and the Yeats professorship is designed to strengthen OSU’s research in earth hazards.
Yeats, who remains an active researcher in retirement, conducts studies primarily on reverse thrust faults, where one block of land rises up over the other. He is particularly well-known for his work on the “blind thrust fault” – a reverse fault that never rises to the surface – which caused the disastrous 1994 Northridge earthquake in California’s San Fernando Valley. He has also conducted extensive studies of other faults in California, Oregon, Washington, China, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, New Zealand and Japan.
Yeats is the first author of the “Geology of Earthquakes,” which is used worldwide as the standard textbook on the subject. As a strong advocate for the communication of science to the public, Yeats has also published two practical guides on earthquakes: “Living with Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest” and “Living with Earthquakes in California.”