Pennington Named President of American Geosciences Institute

By Danny Messinger | Published

Wayne Pennington, chair of Michigan Technological University’s geological and mining engineering and sciences department, has been named president of the American Geosciences Institute (AGI). He will be inducted at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, held in Minneapolis from Oct. 9-12.

Pennington recently served as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the US Department of State and USAID (Agency for International Development). He was also the chair of the AGI Board of Heads and Chairs of Earth and Space Science Departments, as well as the first vice president of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

During his appointment as a Jefferson Science Fellow, he worked in the Office of Infrastructure and Engineering within the Bureau of Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade. After USAID's Office of Science and Technology was created in 2010, he shared his appointment in that office.

In those positions, he worked on issues relating to earthquake hazard in Afghanistan and science and engineering projects in Pakistan. In the wake of the 7.0-magnitude Haitian earthquake, he coordinated scientific and engineering teams heading to Haiti, presented talks for nontechnical audiences on the seismology of Haiti, and co-organized a workshop on infusing Haiti's reconstruction with science and engineering.

Pennington received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, master’s degree from Cornell University and PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison—all in geophysics and geology. He has been at Michigan Tech since 1994 and became department chair in 2003.

The AGI is a nonprofit federation of 50 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards and interaction with the environment.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.