Distinguished Lecture Program

The Distinguished Lecture Program supports lecture tours on pertinent geoscience topics to universities and geological groups throughout the world.

Established in 1941, the Distinguished Lecture Program reaches more than 300 affiliated societies and universities around the world. It became a joint AAPG/AAPG Foundation program in 2013 and is one of the most prestigious programs financially supported by the AAPG Foundation.

Distinguished Lecturers are unpaid volunteers who embark on two- or three-week tours speaking before university groups and local geological societies around the world. Being recognized as respected scientific leaders in their specialties is a requirement of selection for this honor. Distinguished Lecturers dedicate themselves to spreading their knowledge and educating and promoting the geosciences to other geoscientists, students and the general public.

A little history

In the early years of the Distinguished Lecture tour (with a $1,000 budget for the entire program), great scientists like M. King Hubbert and W.C. Krumbein (1944-45) endured challenging journeys by train. Although the way was rough due to WWII rationing and strictures, they pressed on and completed their tours with much help from the local societies and their officers. The second decade consisted of lecturers like the highly regarded Maurice Ewing (1952-53) and A.I. Levorsen (1957-58), recognized as outstanding educators in their own right. Almost seven decades later, the Distinguished Lecturer program is still thriving and the vision of what it can be this decade requires increasing the AAPG Foundation’s capacity to fund the Program.

With over 400 Distinguished Lecturers to date, practicing geoscientists are still benefiting from the tours, and many geo-students are hearing of new technologies and new areas of interest that may inspire them to find their niche among the myriad of specialties that surround the oil and gas business.

Assuring the success of the programs…

From trains to planes, through 13 presidents and over 68 years the Distinguished Lecture Program has grown and flourished throughout its history and has survived with triumph because of generous individual and company contributions. As a result the AAPG Foundation currently funds between 10 and 14 Distinguished Lecturers per year.

Five Distinguished Lecture Tours, two international and three domestic, are permanently endowed and named for members being honored or memorialized.

International Tours

The Roy M. Huffington Tour

Roy Huffington Terry HuffingtonEstablished in 1993 through the generosity of AAPG member Terry Huffington, this lecture tour honors the career and achievements of her late father, Houston-based oilman Roy M. Huffington, who died in July 2008. As an exploration geologist and negotiator, he was a pioneer of the movement of United States independents into international areas. His insightful work in Indonesia in the 1970s helped transform a poor nation into a Pacific Rim economic leader. Huffington was influential in opening communications between industry and OPEC, and was a former United States Ambassador to Austria.

The Dean A. McGee Tour

Dean McGeeIn 1988 a generous gift from Kerr-McGee Corp. provided permanent funding for this lecture tour, which honors one of the company’s founders, Dean A. McGee. The McGee Tour features a North American lecturer who speaks to international audiences on a topic directly applicable to petroleum geology. McGee, who died in 1992, was the first chairman of the AAPG Foundation Trustees. He was an active member of AAPG for more than 50 years and received the Public Service Award, the Human Needs Award, and the Sidney Powers Medal.

North American Tours

The Allan P. Bennison Tour

Allan BennisonLecturers from countries other than the United States are funded to tour in the North America, thanks to the generosity of Tulsa consultant Allan P. Bennison. The reason for establishing this fund, Bennison said in 1984, is that “geology has always been a universal science involving men and women of all nations.” A practical geologist in the fullest sense, Bennison’s accomplishments encompass successful prospecting, dedicated mapmaking and enthusiastic mentoring of younger geologists in the art of field stratigraphy. Bennison passed away in 2004. He received AAPG’s Distinguished Service Award and was an Honorary Member.

The J. Ben Carsey Tour

Ben CarseyFunding for the J. Ben Carsey Distinguished Lecture came through a generous bequest in 1998 from his son, Ben, Jr., who was also an AAPG member. This is a very appropriate memorial, since his father, who died in 1988, served as an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer in 1960 – one of the highlights of his career. During his 36 years with Humble Oil (later Exxon), the elder Mr. Carsey was responsible for finding significant oil and gas reserves as chief geologist and later as exploration advisor, before retiring in 1961. Both Ben, Jr. and his father were graduates of the University of Texas, and worked together in Houston as consultants and independent geologists following the elder Mr. Carsey’s retirement. He was Vice President of AAPG in 1960-62, and went on to become the AAPG President in 1967-68. In 1985 he received AAPG’s highest award, the prestigious Sidney Powers Medal.

The Haas-Pratt Tour

Merrill Haas Wallace PrattMerrill W. Haas funded this applied geology lectureship in 1987 to honor the life and accomplishments of his mentor and lifelong friend, the legendary Wallace E. Pratt. Haas, like Pratt, was a Sidney Powers medalist and past president of AAPG. He served the Association in many capacities, including several years as chairman of the Foundation Trustees. Through the years Haas has attributed the success of his exploration career to an early and long association with Pratt, who was the first chief geologist for Humble Oil Co., now Exxon. Pratt died in 1981 and Haas died in 2001.

Endowment Challenge

This is a new exciting naming opportunity. The cost to endow and name one Domestic Distinguished Lecturer is $300,000 and the cost to endow and name one International Distinguished Lecturer is $350,000. Because of the widely recognized success and benefits of this Program, the Association and the Foundation will match funds 1:1 or $150,000 for new named North American Distinguished Lecturers and $175,000 for new named International Distinguished Lecturers. This additional support will secure the program’s success against increasing costs and will in turn boost growth in the geosciences in the future.

From its humble beginnings to current achievements, AAPG Distinguished Lecturers have traveled millions of miles and spoken for more than a million hours on every possible facet of geology in almost every corner of the world. Yet, there is more to say and more to learn.

To donate to the Distinguished Lecture fund, select it from the Primary Funds drop-down menu on the donation page.

For more information contact:

Foundation Representative • (918) 560-2644 • Email
Toll-free (US and Canada) 1-855-302-2743