Celebrating the Retirement of Richard Church


On October 5, 2018 the department, alumni and friends celebrated the retirement of Distinguished Professor Richard L. Church. This began with a Roast/Memories session followed by a Reception.

The Roast included an overview of Dr. Church’s career at UCSB. Rick began his tenure at UCSB in Fall 1980 and he retired following the Spring 2018 quarter. His addition to the department brought expertise in location modeling, spatial optimization, transportation and land use planning, interdiction and critical infrastructure modeling, forest management and nature reserve siting, among others.

The inscription on Rick’s commemorative globe reads “Excellence in scholarship, mentoring and service in Geography, at UCSB and across the community.” His research productivity includes 270+ publications, $16 million in grants (60+ as PI or Co-PI), and some 14,050+ citations (h-index=56) to date. At UCSB he has taught a range of courses, including GEOG 5 (Introductory Human Geography), 101 (Transportation Futures), 146 (Introduction to Transportation), 153D (Spatial Decisions in Retailing), 185B (Environmental Issues and Location Decision Making), 190 (Location Theory and Modeling), 191 (Introduction to Optimization Methods for Geographic Problems), 291 (Optimization Models for Geographic Problems) and 294 (Advanced Topics in Location and Transportation Systems). He has advised some 43 MA and Ph.D. students, and served on many, many more graduate student committees. His service to the department and university has been extensive, with appointments on 46+ different committees, and service as Associate Dean of Math, Life and Physical Sciences, 2010-18, Geography Chair, 1984-88, and Graduate Advisor, 1990-1998. In recognition for his noteworthy accomplishments to date, he has received the following Awards and Honors:

  • 2009 Fellow, Regional Science Association International
  • 2009 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2012 Lifetime Achievement in Location Analysis Award, SOLA, INFORMS
  • 2012-13 Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award, UCSB Academic Senate
  • 2014 UCGIS Research Award
  • 2018 Isard Award, North American Regional Science Council

Congratulations on your achievements, and thank you for your invaluable contributions to Geography and UCSB. Enjoy retirement!

Have your cake, and eat it too.

Stuart Sweeney, Rick Church and Alan Murray

Dean Wiltzius took the roasting part seriously.

The final word from Dr. Church.

Some of Professor Church’s former students at the Reception (front row l-r: Antonio Medrano 2014 PhD, Craig Bloxham 1989 MA, Matt Niblett 2014 PhD/2009 MA, Alan Murray 1995 PhD; back row l-r: Robert Vallera 1984 MA, Ross Gerrard 1995 PhD/ 1989 MA, Tim Niblett 2016 PhD / 2013 MA, Rick Church (advisor), Carlos Baez 2016 MA, Benj Schoepfle 1988 PhD, Richard Reeves 1982 MA).