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Gary O'Dell, Ph.D.

Professor of Physical Geography in the Dept. of History, Philosophy, Politics, Global Studies & Legal Studies (School of Humanities & Social Sciences)odell-(1).jpg


  • Ph.D. in Geography (2003), University of Kentucky
  • MA in Geography (1996), University of Kentucky
  • BS in Horticulture (1977), University of Kentucky


Gary A. O’Dell serves as a Professor of Physical Geography at Morehead State University, Morehead, Ky. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Geography in 2003 from the University of Kentucky; his dissertation was on “Eco-efficiency and lean production: Environmental performance of Japanese transplants in the United States.” In 1996, Gary earned a MA degree in Geography from the University of Kentucky, writing his thesis on the subject, “The search for water: Self-supply strategies in a rural Appalachian neighborhood.” His BS degree (1977) in Horticulture was also from U.K.; and he received the Oswald Award for undergraduate research, first place in Biology. Dr. O’Dell serves on the steering committee of the Kentucky Geographic Alliance, and in January 2014, was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear as the Kentucky State Geographer.

Research Interests: Gary’s research interests are quite diverse. As a member of the National Speleological Society for more than forty years, he has a strong research program in the geology and hydrology of karst landscapes and associated cavern development and morphology. Before coming to MSU in 2001, long-term employment with the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection fostered considerable attention upon human-environment interaction, particularly in regard to water supply and sanitation and issues of rural infrastructure development. Gary is also fascinated by regional history, and a large proportion of his substantial publication record concerns historical geography and industrial archaeology focused on Kentucky. Recently, he has had two separate articles accepted for publication in the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, which should appear in print in the near future.


302 Rader Hall