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Stephan Graham

Photo Credit: Toni Bird

Stephan Graham awarded for lifetime of distinguished research and teaching

BY Barbara Buell

Stanford Earth geological sciences professor Stephan Graham began his exploration of the stratigraphic record in southern Indiana as a boy collecting fossils. In the years since then, Graham has developed seminal research in the field of sedimentation and tectonics and has mentored generations of graduate students. On April 4, the Society of Sedimentary Geologists recognized his contributions with the Francis J. Pettijohn Medal for a lifetime of distinguished research and teaching.

Graham’s research and field work locations are diverse. He has published more than 200 academic papers on topics including large-scale plate-tectonic modeling of the evolution of sedimentary basins, sedimentary constraints along the San Andreas fault system, detailed analyses of modern and ancient submarine canyons, controls on hydrocarbon occurrences, and the regional geology of Asia, especially in Tibet and Mongolia. Following a few years working at Exxon and Chevron, Graham, who is the Welton Joseph and Maud L’Anphere Crook Professor, became a teacher and generous mentor to generations of students in his 37 years at Stanford.

Most of Graham’s publications are coauthored with his graduate students, who have been expertly trained through his rigorous, yet supportive advising. His former graduate students and postdoctoral researchers populate positions in academia, industry, and government around the world. One of them, research scientist Jacob Covault, ’04, PhD ’08, was honored with the Society’s mid-career Dickinson Award on April 4, which is named after the late Bill Dickinson, a former Stanford Earth professor and recipient of the School's first Alumni Award in 2015. Covault is a research scientist at the University of Texas and chairperson of the Stanford Earth Alumni Council.

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