Herbert E. Hendriks ’40, emeritus professor of geology, died March 11 in Cedar Rapids. He was 96.
Hendriks discovered his love of geology as a Cornell College student, and returned to teach at Cornell after graduate study as a member of the geology faculty from 1947 to 1983. He was an innovator and pioneer in his field. As a graduate student he questioned the conventional thinking that continents were fixed, embracing the theory of continental drift. In the 1940s he became concerned about the sustainability of natural resources and began to petition for an environmental studies course. He was finally able to offer that course in the 1960s, and in 1975 founded and directed Cornell’s Environmental Studies Program, one of the first in the nation. Hendriks talks about environmental studies in this video.
He believed strongly in the importance of fieldwork and, with his wife Luretta Tipton Hendriks ’43, established the Hendriks Student Research Fund. He set an example to students as a successful field investigator, both as an exploration consultant to major petroleum companies and as a professor for over 20 summers at Camp Norton field station in Wyoming. Hendriks was a leader in the national, regional, and state geological societies, and in 1975 the Iowa Academy of Science honored him with its Centennial Award.
Hendriks was awarded the Honorary Degree Doctor of Science in 2008 from Cornell. He was also a past member of the Alumni Board and Class Agent.
A memorial service will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, at Morgan Funeral Choices in Mount Vernon. The family will greet friends at Morgan from 1:30 p.m. until the service begins. Herbert Hendriks full obituary is available online through The Gazette.