Your planned gift…

Ensures the future of seismology. 

Clarence Allen (1925-2021) Photo Courtesy of Caltech

What can a planned gift do? In the case of Clarence Allen (1925-2021), it can bring countless career-changing opportunities to seismologists in our community for many years to come.

Allen, the late Caltech professor emeritus of geology and geophysics and SSA’s 41st president, left nearly $1.6 million dollars for our Society in his estate plans.

The gift, the largest donation in SSA history, has been directed toward a special fund supporting student and early-career member involvement in scientific conferences, as well as community grants to support programs and events within the SSA community that serve to advance earthquake science, with a special focus on developing seismologists. The fund is planned to be fully realized and operational by 2024.

“Clarence was known for his generous spirit,” said SSA Past President John Townend. “He volunteered his time and talents to our community, as our leader, as a guide to newcomers in seismology and as an advocate for policy changes that have made our world a safer place. His final gift to our Society has left us overwhelmed with gratitude. This donation will transform SSA.”

Allen was 96 when he died on 21 January 2021. Throughout his distinguished career, his dual expertise in seismology and geology served him well in his research, in his advocacy for effective hazard mitigation, and in his many leadership roles across the scientific community. Those roles included service as president of both SSA (1975) and the Geological Society of America (1974).

It’s been said that Allen had an impressive skill for 3-D visualization and a photographic memory for faults. But there is one word that comes up again and again when talking with the people who knew him best.

“His kindness,” says Lucile Jones. “That is the first thing that comes to mind about Clarence.” The founder and chief scientist of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society remembers getting to know Allen at the Caltech Seismological Laboratory when she began work at the USGS. At the time, she was the only female with a doctorate in earthquake science at both the university and the agency. “Clarence was the kindest person to me at a place where I was finding my feet. He didn’t care if I was a man or woman. He made me feel comfortable. He didn’t have an ego. He was never competitive.”

“Exceptionally gracious and kind” is also how Susan Newman remembers Allen. Newman, the executive director of SSA during Allen’s presidency, describes him as a “highly respected leader” whose “clear observations, quick wit and easy manner brought varied people together — geologists, seismologists and engineers.”

Read more about Allen in SSA News.

Make a Planned Gift Today

Every gift to SSA is an act of kindness. We are all traveling on a professional journey, and giving to others represents the choice to stop, pull over and assist. One of the greatest acts of kindness, one that can help more people than you may have ever thought possible, is a Planned Gift. Learn more here, or contact SSA for further information about how to leave a lasting legacy through your planned gift.