Remembering Rand


Memories of Rand Schaal

From Eldridge Moores

September 24, 2015

I first met Rand Schaal in the early 1970's, when he was enrolled in my structural geology and/or tectonics classes. From the first, he was a polite, deferential, humorous, bright, enthusiastic person. It was a pleasure to have him in the department.

After his work at UCLA and NASA, Rand returned to Davis to work on a Ph.D. in petrology, with Ian MacGregor as his major professor. As I remember, I was on his thesis committee. When Ian moved away from Davis, Rand was close to finishing his project, and I became Rand's "major professor of convenience", essentially reading and approving his thesis. He received his Ph.D. in 1991 for a study of Colorado Plateau eclogites. 

Rand was an avid aviator, with first a small plane and then a motorized glider. He also was an avid photographer, who made many very nice aerial shots. His slides of Oroville and Monticello Dams were memorable, particularly in the aftermath of the heavy rains of January, 1997. 

Rand suffered a stroke on Memorial Day, 1998, and worked hard at recuperation. It was after that incident that he took up flying in a motorized glider, as he learned that one didn't need a medical certificate to fly one. He took me up for a flight over the Sacramento Valley and the northern Coast Ranges--a memorable experience. 

Over the years we had become friends as well as colleagues. However, Rand always accorded me more deference than I thought necessary. Usually, he greeted me as "General", with a chuckle, and a disorganized or backwards salute. How could I not laugh? Not only was he great fun to be around, yearly parties at his commodious house off Road 99 were enjoyable occasions - including my retirement party on June 14, 2003. 

As we all know, Rand and his Father were very generous to the University, giving funds for the Schaal Pool, the Schaal Lecture Hall, and a field geology fund – all of which enhanced aspects of the university to the great benefit of many students in geology and across the campus

Rand was a fine person, a great friend. And I miss him.