Hall of Fame Winner

Recognizing distinguished alumni from Oceanside High School

Dr. Harland Epps


Hall of Fame Inductee for


Dr. Harland EppsDr. Harland Epps

Class of


A distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Astronomer in UCO/Lick Observatory; Consultant in Optical Design. Teachers at Oceanside-Carlsbad High some 60 years ago became role models for me.

With great fondness I remember Marie Bradley who could hardly see yet taught me how to write. There was Joe Long, the typing teacher who taught me to value accuracy in all that I do; Floyd Kelly, who first recognized and nurtured my facility with complex mathematics; Lester Schroeder, who put a trumpet in my hand and filled my heart with a love for improvised jazz; John Simcox, who I remember best for teaching about the dark side of slavery in the United States and for his passion over the importance of civil rights. He was 10 years ahead of his time.

I caught for Joe Geary’s baseball team and was elected captain in my senior year. There was some studying along the way, mixed with fun and friendships that have lasted to this day. Others helped to shape my adult life but most important among them was the principal, Armand Selinger who singled me out as a candidate for one of the best colleges in the country.

Ten rewarding years of college and graduate school unfolded. With Ph.D. in hand, I joined the San Diego State faculty briefly and then settled into a 24-year-long professorship in astronomy at UCLA. Rapid technology developments in the 1970’s spawned new visions of larger telescopes, on the ground and in space, which propelled my research career in hot pursuit of seminal advances in the design and creation of entirely new, much more capable optics for astronomy.

In 1989, I accepted a professorship at UC Santa Cruz to work closely with colleagues on Keck telescope instrument projects. I retired in 2014, having served for 50 years in a challenging academic realm of discovery. Like a ship’s wake, I leave behind more than 250 technical reports and published papers and more than 50 instruments, powering many of the world’s most productive telescopes as they scan the night sky in the ultraviolet, the visible and the near-infrared, in search of new understanding.

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