AEG Foundation
Norman R. Tilford Field Studies
Scholarship Fund

Grants from the Tilford Fund are intended to recognize and support deserving undergraduate or graduate geology students who are Student Members of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists. The Tilford Fund does not support general and administrative (overhead) costs, technical or scientific consulting fees, or equipment purchase or maintenance costs of an educational institution employing or teaching individuals who receive grants from it.

Who was Norman R. TIlford?
Norman Tilford

Norman Ross Tilford, professor of geology at Texas A&M University and executive director of the Association of Engineering Geologists (AEG), died in an airplane accident on Nov. 13, 1997, while flying his Cessna 180 from College Station, Texas. Tilford, who was 62 years old, joined Texas A&M in 1985 with 30 years of international geology experience.

Professor Tilford was en route Nov. 13 to Van Horn, Texas, where he was meeting his students for a field trip. They reported him missing on Nov. 14. Intense searching by the Civil Air Patrol proved unsuccessful, but two hunters found the plane's wreckage on Dec. 13 in a densely wooded area about nine miles west of Johnson City, Texas. Tilford apparently died on impact.

"We have lost a good friend and colleague," says Christopher Mathewson, who is also a professor of geology at Texas A&M. "The engineering geology profession has lost a dedicated servant, Texas A&M University has lost a great teacher, and the Association of Engineering Geologists has lost an outstanding leader."

Tilford was born in Moscow, Kan., On Dec. 14, 1934. He started his engineering geology career working on foundation geology with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Los Angeles. Subsequently, he worked in West Pakistan for the Harza Engineering Company. After he earned his master's degree in geology from Arizona State University in 1966, he worked for the Philadelphia Port Corp. and then joined Ebasco Services Inc. in 1969. Tilford was the company's head geologist when it constructed the Keban Dam in Turkey, one of the largest dams in the world at that time. Beginning in 1975, he served as Ebasco's chief geologist and traveled throughout the United States and the world as a consulting geologist.

As a Texas A&M professor, Tilford was known for his incorporation of real life situations into his classroom teaching and on field trips, Mathewson says. Tilford focused on active tectonics, water resources development, evaluation of geological hazards, and site selection studies.

He was a member of several associations and was particularly active in the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the U.S. Committee on Large Dams, and AEG, serving as AEG's executive director since last June. AEG gave him its Floyd T. Johnston Service Award in 1992.

Past Awardees
  • 2018 – Victor Farcia, Ph.D.; Kimberly Moore, Graduate; Emmy Geyman, Undergraduate; Michael Ferraro, Undergraduate
  • 2017 – Johanna Eidmann, Graduate; Erin Lathrop, Graduate; Amy Plechacek, Undergraduate; Anna Stanczyk, Undergraduate
  • 2016 – Matthew Thomas Dorsey, Graduate Masters; Anna Katharina Schuh, Junior Undergraduate; Emily Penolope Anderson-Merritt, Senior Undergraduate
  • 2014 – Julia Corbett Howe, Undergraduate; Sebastian Dirringer, Masters; Elizabeth Joy Olson, PhD
  • 2013 – Shelby Jones, Undergraduate; Michael McLain, Graduate-Masters; Lauren Schaefer, Graduate-PhD
  • 2012 – Na Hyung (Stacey) Choi, Undergraduate 1st Place; Jerome Varriale, Undergraduate 2nd Place; Matthew Burnette, Graduate
  • 2011 – Jeremiah Bihl, Undergraduate; Rebecca Springer, Undergraduate; Evan Keffeler, Masters; Christopher Madden, PhD
  • 2010 – Carrie Frisky, Undergraduate; Nathaniel Swanson, Graduate-Masters
  • 2009 – Anna Perry, Undergraduate; Anna Brody, Graduate-Masters; Stephanie Watts, Graduate-PhD
  • 2008 – Tyler Benton, Undergraduate; Theresa Poruznick, Graduate-Masters
  • 2007 – Shaina M. Forsyth, Undergraduate; Scott Braunstein, Graduate-Masters; Christopher Hein, Graduate-PhD
  • 2006 – Jennifer Wright, Undergraduate; Nichole Wendlandt, Graduate-Masters
  • 2005 – Stephanie Mrozek, Undergraduate; Conor Watkins, Graduate
  • 2004 – Shelley Zaragoza, Undergraduate; Kathy Goetz Troost, Graduate
  • 2003 – Heidi Sieverding, Graduate
  • 2002 – Paul J. Moore, Undergraduate; Paula Jo Lemonds, Graduate
  • 2001 – Bonnie E. Phillips, Undergraduate; Cal A. Ruleman, Graduate; Joseph Kula, Graduate-PhD