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David A. Stephenson

David A. Stephenson
The Geological Society of America Foundation

2010 GSA Distinguished Service Award

Presented to David A. Stephenson

Citation by Robert J. Sterrett

David Stephenson has been an active member of GSA for over 40 years, giving countless hours to further the core activities of GSA, its Hydrogeology Division, and the geologic profession. Contributions and honors include: Fellow of GSA; associate editor of GSA Bulletin; GSA’s representative to UNESCO; GSA Hydrogeology Division’s Birdsall Distinguished Lecturer; chair of the Hydrogeology Division; convener of two Penrose Conferences and several GSA Symposia; chair of GSA’s Committee on Education; GSA vice president, president, and past president and member of GSA Council; acting executive director of GSA in 2001; and for the past several years, president of the GSA Foundation. In 1999, Dave served as president of the American Geological Institute.

Dave received the Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1965 under George Burke Maxey. From 1965 until 1979, Dave was a professor of geology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he established the hydrogeology program; he was also pivotal in founding the Water Resources Management Program at the university. Dave was mentor to more than 25 graduate students and later to many other young hydrogeologists when he entered the consulting profession in 1979. In 2001, Dave was tapped to lead GSA as its acting executive director. From 2004 until July 2010, he served GSA as president of the GSA Foundation. During his tenure at the Foundation, annual donations increased by 20%, and bequests increased substantially.

Dave has served as a model to others for his devotion and service to the geological profession.


top2010 GSA Distinguished Service Award — Response by David A. Stephenson

Thank you Bob for being my citationist and, more importantly, for being my friend and colleague over the years. Frankly, it doesn’t seem like 49 years ago when I joined GSA and started accepting calls to service. No one ever told me I was that age-challenged.

Receiving the GSA Distinguished Service Award is both an honor and sobering experience. I am privileged to join those who previously received this award and I certainly remember many of their contributions: from Cam Craddock (a former faculty colleague at the University of Wisconsin and Madison neighbor), to Sam Adams, Sue Beggs, Pete Palmer, Royann (Gardner) Cygan, Tony Reso, David Dunn, Bob Fuchs, and Jamie Robertson—just to name a few. That’s good company to join! I thank those who nominated me for this recognition.

Some of you don’t know (and may not even care), but the presence within GSA of the Stephenson name reaches back to 1888 and John James Stevenson, one of the Society’s Founders. John and I share being known as very active members of the Society and for serving as its President. It’s just possible that there is something in an Irish/Scottish lineage.

I’ll pass on my advice to any of you who seek to do more than work within your specialty: “Get involved.” Join committees, volunteer, and serve. Such activity carries many rewards.

I’m pleased to have been of service to the Society and its Foundation, especially as President of both organizations and Acting GSA Executive Director. It has been an interesting, varied, sometimes exhilarating, albeit sometimes exasperating ride.

I wish to specially acknowledge those family, friends, and colleagues who joined this event tonight. Your presence is also an award.

Thank you.

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