Hilda Karlsson Roderick Lecture Series

Hilda Karlsson Roderick Lecture Series

The inaugural Hilda Karlsson Roderick Lecture took place in the spring of 2017. This annual event funded by the Roderick family (described below) brings an exciting speaker to campus each year with the goal of stimulating interest in science fields, sparking curiosity in younger scientists, offering topics of further exploration and enriching the current faculty at Berea College. Normally the talk is given in the spring of each year, often but not necessarily in April. The speaker might be given a handcrafted gift from the Berea College Student Craft department and/or a small honorarium as fits each individual. The events will be publicized in advance and the general public outside Berea is certainly welcome to participate.


The lecture series is being funded by Hilda Karlsson Roderick who was born in 1927 to immigrant parents living a warm, but simple farm life in Southern Maryland. Grateful to have found Berea, she graduated with honors in 1948 and went on to receive a Masters in biochemistry from Oklahoma A&M College and a teaching credential from University of California Berkeley. She taught high school and also worked as a research assistant at the University. She later joined the MDI Biological Laboratory as a technician to earn supplemental college tuition money for her children.

She met and married Thomas H. Roderick and moved to Bar Harbor, ME. Thomas was a research scientist and professor at the Jackson Laboratory. They frequently hosted scientific guests in their home. They had a family, including a son and daughter, Margarethe and George, and kept busy with school and many activities, including scouting for both. Hilda became involved with scouting at the national and international levels of Girl Scouts, and was named an “Honorary World Member.”

Berea always rings a happy note for Hilda and her family, as they visited campus, as well as met friends and faculty. Thomas always joined Hilda for her class reunions. Hilda served Berea by coordinating “Berea Day in Maine” for 30 years, an annual gathering of Berea Alumni, and received the President’s “Alumni Loyalty Award” at her 60th Berea Reunion.