College of Arts and Sciences

News Archive: In memoriam

Remembering Professor John Odland
(March 26, 1943 – September 14, 2009)

Memorial Resolution

John OdlandOn November 6, 2009, the department hosted a celebration of John’s life and scholarship in the President’s Room in the University Club of the Indiana Memorial Union.  Friends, colleagues, former students, and family from across the country were in attendance.  Many others sent their regards from all over the world.

The faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the Department of Geography mourn the death of Dr. John Odland — our friend, mentor, and colleague. Dr. Odland served Indiana University for over 35 years and enriched both IU and the broader academic community in myriad ways. He joined IU in 1970, rose through the ranks to hold the position of professor, served as department chairperson from 1989 to 1993. He retired in December 2007.

Dr. Odland was a scholar of the highest order. Indeed, he was the very embodiment of intellectual rigor. His methodological exactitude, meticulousness, and ability to diagnose research problems stand as the bar against which so many of us measure ourselves.

But Dr. Odland was much more than an outstanding researcher. He was a true academic — continually excelling in all aspects of our profession. He strove to move forward research in the fields of national and international migration, spatial analyses of labor markets, and spatial modeling. He constantly sought to motivate and facilitate excellence in the students and colleagues with whom he interacted.

Lastly, but by no means least, Dr. Odland tirelessly served his discipline, department, the University, and the academy as a whole. He was utterly selfless in his willingness to provide mentorship and to serve as a reviewer for tenure and promotion cases from across the country and hundreds of journal articles and proposals.

Among the attributes that made John such a uniquely well-regarded colleague were his humor and humanity. His ability to perfectly encapsulate a situation or circumstance in a pithy quip was a hallmark and enlivened many a dull meeting!

His kindness and generous spirit were manifest in so many of his actions, all undertaken without expectation of thanks or reciprocity.

We cannot possibly do justice to the full spectrum of Dr. Odland’s contributions in this short note, nor can we fully articulate the depth of sadness at his passing or the high esteem in which he was held.

The John Odland Graduate Research Fund has been established to support graduate student research activities. Memorial gifts may be made payable to the IU Foundation for the benefit of the “John Odland Graduate Research Fund.” Mail to:

IU Foundation
PO Box 500
Bloomington, IN 47402.