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Find Your Science at GSA
17 July 2012
GSA Release No. 12-54
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach

George H. Davis

Suzanne Mahlburg Kay

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New Leaders Will Guide Geological Society of America into 125th Anniversary Year

Boulder, CO, USA – George H. Davis, Regents Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson, recently took the helm as president of The Geological Society of America. Serving as vice president is Suzanne Mahlburg Kay, of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. Davis and Kay serve one-year terms that began on 1 July 2012 and thus will extend halfway through 2013, the 125th Anniversary of GSA's founding.

Davis will deliver his Presidential Address, Where Our Deepest Passions Intersect the World's Compelling Needs, at the GSA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, on Sunday, 4 Nov. 2012, during a lunchtime lecture from 12:15-1:15 p.m. This event is open to the public and the media are invited to attend.

"GSA is fortunate in the quality and dedication of our members, and hence our volunteer leaders," said GSA Executive Director John W. "Jack" Hess. "We have a strong foundation upon which to build the Society’s legacy for the next 125 years."

GSA President George H. Davis

GSA President George Davis is committed to the broad yet mission-focused reach of GSA as it strives to support and enhance discovery and sharing of new knowledge; translating new knowledge to practical applications in arenas such as energy, mineral resources, hazards, climate, environment, and public health; the imperative of reaching diverse populations of K-12 students preparing to become global citizens; higher education of next generations of geoscientists; strengthening of science and scientists in the minds of the public at large and government leaders; and development of informed public policy. Davis values GSA's tradition and emphasis on collegiality, community, and interchange.

"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 crossroads 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, active 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. In recognition of Davis' academic leadership, the University of Arizona Foundation established the George H. Davis Endowed Travel Scholarship for assistant professors. In 2012, Davis was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Carleton College. He has also recently been named the national recipient of the teaching-based Inspire Integrity Award, conferred by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

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, and the Annual Program, Membership, and Investment committees; he was Chair of the Audit Committee; and served on GSA Council from 1994 to1996. Davis was awarded the Career Contribution Award from GSA's Structural Geology and Tectonics Division in 2010.

Read more about George Davis at

GSA Vice-President Suzanne Mahlburg Kay

GSA Vice President Suzanne Mahlburg Kay outlines her interest in serving GSA as being parallel to the three themes of the society, "To advance and facilitate research in the geosciences, to enhance the intellectual growth of members of all ages through the exchange of scientific ideas, and to apply basic geoscience knowledge to human needs -- doing all that is possible to promote stewardship of the Earth in a scientifically sound and reasonable manner."

Kay added, "Finally, I would like to encourage GSA to continue to reach out to geoscience societies across the Americas, as well as elsewhere in the world in fostering common goals."

Kay received her B.S. and M.S. in geology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and her Ph.D. in geological sciences from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She is currently the William and Katherine Snee Professor of Geological Sciences in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA. Her particular areas of expertise include Petrology, Geochemistry, and Tectonics.

Kay is a GSA Fellow as well as a fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), the Society of Economic Geology (SEG), and the American Geophysical Union (AGU); she is a foreign fellow of the Asociación Geológica Argentina. Kay was awarded the GSA Distinguished Service Award in 2000 and received the AAPG Eastern Division Outstanding Educator award in 2007.

Her extensive service to GSA includes having been a member of GSA Council, president of the GSA International Division, science editor of GSA Today, chair of the 2006 International meeting hosted by the GSA and the Asociación Geológica Argentina on the Backbone of the Americas, service as the International Secretary, and Publications Committee Chair.

Read more about Suzanne Mahlburg Kay at

The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 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.