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Find Your Science at GSA
05 July 2011
GSA Release No. 11-41
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach

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Geological Society of America Elects Eminent Geoscientists to Office

Boulder, CO, USA – John Geissman, Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico, and Visiting Full Professor at the University of Michigan, recently took the helm as president of The Geological Society of America. Serving as his vice president is George H. Davis, Regents Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona. Geissman and Davis began serving one-year terms on 1 July 2011.

Geissman will give his Presidential Address, “The importance of the global professoriate in the geosciences—the students we are teaching, and learn from, today may represent the last great hope,” at the GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Sunday, 9 October 2011.

“GSA is honored to have officers of this calibre dedicated to the vision and mission of the Society,” said GSA Executive Director John W. (Jack) Hess. “We are confident that GSA can meet the challenges ahead under their leadership.”

GSA President John Geissman

“The importance of professional geoscience societies in linking our growing understanding of our home—the only one we have—to the needs and sustainability of a too-rapidly growing population has never been greater,” says Geissman in explaining his service to GSA. “The opportunity for constructive cooperation among all professional geoscience organizations has never been greater. GSA must continue to play a vibrant role in this mission, by first and foremost fostering a strong, energetic, and visible professional organization for its members and translating our importance to society.”

Geissman earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. His research interests are in paleomagnetism and tectonics. His passion is teaching field geology. After a post-doctoral research position at the University of Toronto, Geissman was an assistant professor at the Colorado School of Mines before moving to the University of New Mexico in 1984, where he built a distinguished career, serving as Chair of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences for three years and the President of the Faculty Senate for two and a half years. He retired from UNM in December, 2010, and joined the UTD faculty, where he is actively building up a new research facility.

As a member of GSA, Geissman has been the chair of both the Geophysics and Structural Geology and Tectonics Divisions, chair of the GSA publications committee and editor of the GSA Bulletin, and has served as the technical program chair for two annual meetings. Geissman received the GSA Distinguished Service Award in 2002. He is a GSA Fellow and also a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, for which he was Editor of Eos, for almost ten years. He served as GSA Councilor from 2005 to 2009. He is active in the pre-science education movement and has been Associate Editor for the Reports of the National Center for Science Education for over ten years and Associate Editor for Tectonics for seven years.

Read more about John Geissman at

GSA Vice President George H. Davis

“GSA was prescient when it constructed its strategic vision, “fostering the human quest for understanding Earth, planets, and life; catalyzing new scientific ways of thinking about natural systems; and supporting the application of geoscience knowledge and insight to human needs, aspirations, and Earth stewardship,” said Davis in describing his reason for seeking office. “The burgeoning human population is at a cross roads with respect to sustainability challenges. Consequently GSA has never been more essential in creating environments and resources that will help the geosciences community identify pathways for addressing sustainability challenges …pathways based importantly on geo-understanding of deep history and changing environments.”

“I am among the many advocates for the core value that GSA places on field-based science inseparably linked with applications of new and emerging technologies, for this combination especially informs discovery and understanding,” said Davis.

Davis received his B.A. from The College of Wooster, his M.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and his Ph.D. from The University of Michigan. His research interests lie in structural geology, tectonics, and geoarchaeology

His long career at The University of Arizona took him from Assistant to Full Professor, and then Regents Professor from 1998-2007. During his tenure there he served as Department Head, Vice Provost, Interim VP for Business Affairs, and Executive VP and Provost. He won Outstanding Faculty Award in the Department of Geosciences in 2003, and established the “George H. Davis Endowed Travel Scholarship” for assistant professors with The University of Arizona Foundation.

Davis is a GSA Fellow and has a long history of service to the Society, including former Secretary/Treasurer of the Structural Geology Division, Field Trip Chair for the 100th Annual Meeting, committee service including the Committee to Revise the Strategic Plan and Mission Statement, the Annual Program, Membership, and Investment committees, Chair of the Audit Committee, and service on GSA Council from 1994 to1996. Davis won the Career Contribution Award from the Structural Geology and Tectonics Division in 2010.

Read more about George Davis at


The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a broad, unifying scientific society with more than 24,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 97 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.