Every morning at Rice you can see him arrive,
Head over the crowd as he walks up the drive,
Kinda broad in the shoulder, narrow in the hip,
All the students know you don’t give no lip
To Big John.

Somebody said he studied at South Alabam,
Where they say “Please” and “Thank you ma’am”,
Then New Mexico, his Master’s great
And a PhD from Florida State,
Big John.

Three years up north, Michigan’s Hope College,
Where he taught and gained a useful knowledge,
It’s a long long way from there to the coast,
Which is where we needed John the most,
Big John.

So he headed back south to Houston’s Rice,
In seventy-five, and the fit was nice,
As he climbed the ranks to the Ewing chair,
Forty-three years he’s been happy there,
Big John.

Big John, Big John, He’s Big John.

13,000 citations, h of 62,
More than 250 papers and 9 books too,
62 grad students through the door,
And undergrads helped out by the score,
That’s John.

AAPG lecturing went,
And the SEPM President,
Won the Shepherd Medal on the way,
And a Fellow of the GSA,
Big John.

Was department chair now directs the Center
For Sustainability, then enter
Teaching and mentoring awards; on the go
Told the Congress what they need to know,
Big John.

Big John, Big John, He’s Big John.

John mapped the shelf off the Texas Beach,
Sea levels past and future reach,
That’s where more water soon may be,
If Antarctic ice falls into the sea.
So Big John…

He he led 24 voyages to complete the task,
And make a map of the whole death mask,
Of Antarctic ice, where it lived and died,
And the sediments it left beside.
Big John…

He found the ice just sits for thousands of years,
Then all of a sudden, disappears,
It jumps the bump, then in a race,
Retreats so fast that it leaves no trace
For Big John.

Big John, Big John, He’s Big John.

Unzip one fjord and then the sea will rise,
Just a meter or two, they’re just that size,
But a whole lot bigger one awaits,
Hanging on by its fingernails, it’s Thwaites,
Its fingernails.

If Thwaites jumps the bump and falls into the pit,
Then coastal people will say “Oh — (that’s it)”
They may plan for one meter, get four or five
And a lot of drivers better learn to dive,
In a hurry

So it’s back on the ship and down to the ice,
A better picture would be nice,
To learn how close the dangers lie,
If we spit in Mother Nature’s eye,

His students knew just how to read
What happened there, as they follow his lead
With side-scan sonar and a longer core,
And better ways to find out more
For Big John.

John learns the truth and he tells it clear,
And he won’t let anyone interfere,
Science makes us better, so
He stands tall when people need to know,
Big John.

Thanks John, for all the great things you do,
For your leadership, and good humor too,
Now as your retirement nears,
We send our best for a lot more years,
Big John

Big John, Big John, Thanks Big John.