Anne Meltzer Named Inaugural Trembley Chair

Anne Meltzer, professor of earth and environmental sciences, has been named the first holder of the Francis J. Trembley Chair in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Lehigh University.

As a seismologist, Meltzer studies earthquakes and the structure of the earth through naturally and artificially generated seismic waves. Published in many highly respected journals, Meltzer’s research has had a great impact in the field of earth science. In 1999, she received the Albert and Alice Weeks Visiting Professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An observational seismologist, her research is focused on the geologic processes involved in mountain building and deformation along continental margins. Her research is collaborative with colleagues from other earth science disciplines at Lehigh and at other institutions in the US and abroad. Her research interests have taken her and her students to many remote, beautiful, and interesting parts of the world, in North America, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia including the Himalaya of Pakistan and Tibet. Most recently, she has been engaged in multidisciplinary research to understand the origin of high topography in central Mongolia and using aftershocks from significant earthquakes to better understand deformation and faulting.

She has distinguished herself in the research community by serving as chair of the Board of Directors (twice) of the Independent Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a consortium of over 120 US academic institutions and over 120 foreign affiliates, dedicated to the operation of scientific facilities for the acquisition, management, and distribution of open seismic data. In this role, Meltzer worked closely with the geoscience community in a successful effort to secure funding from the National Science Foundation for EarthScope, a major new initiative to establish observational facilities to measure deformation of the earth in real-time at continental scales, to better understand the structure, evolution, and dynamics of the North American continent. She later served as Chair of the EarthScope Program Committee, and the EarthScope Steering Committee. She also helped establish a new initiative within IRIS to support international development efforts to build technical infrastructure, and human capacity to improve earthquake monitoring, research, and education in developing countries.

From 2004-2011, Meltzer served as the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and chaired Lehigh’s department of earth and environmental sciences from 2002 to 2004. She was the recipient of the Class of 1961 Professorship in 1998, and was promoted to the rank of professor in 2001. In addition to serving as chair of the earth and environmental sciences department, Meltzer served as the director of LEO (Lehigh Earth Observatory), which installed a seismic station at Lehigh to monitor local, regional, and global seismic activity. Data from this station is part of a regional seismic network monitoring seismicity in the northeastern US. Under her direction, LEO successfully obtained significant funding from the Keck Foundation, the Culpeper Foundation, and the William Penn Foundation to expanded research funding and opportunities available to graduate and undergraduate students.

She joined the Lehigh faculty in January 1990 after earning her Ph.D. in geology and geophysics from Rice University.

The Francis J. Trembley Chair was established by Lehigh alumna Marjorie M. Nemes, who received her MS in 1951 and PhD in 1955 in bacteriology. After graduating from Lehigh, she spent three years at the Rockefeller Institute and spent some time teaching at the Women's Medical College in Philadelphia, Pa. She worked as a supervisor and research scientist for Merck and Company and was a bio-medical consultant to hospitals and nursing homes. Nemes traveled extensively, participating in several expeditions to the Arctic. She also made bi-annual trips to the Amazon and the Peruvian rainforest collecting plants for medicinal purposes and studying birds.

Nemes was a member of the Asa Packer and Tower Societies.  In addition to establishing the Trembley Chair, Nemes also created the Nemes Fellowship  in the department of biological sciences that supports graduate student research.

The position is named in honor of Francis Trembley, who was a former chair of biological sciences at Lehigh and a pioneer ecologist. He began his career at Lehigh in the biology department in 1928 and became Lehigh's first professor of ecology in 1949. Outside Lehigh, Trembley also served as vice president for the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in nearby Kempton, Pa., for more than three decades.