GSA Medals & Awards

2006 GSA Distinguished Service Award

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Presented to Abhijit Basu, David E. Fastovsky, and Roger L. Kaesler

Abhijit Basu David E. Fastovsky Roger L. Kaesler

Abhijit Basu
Indiana University

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David E. Fastovsky
University of Rhode Island

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Roger L. Kaesler
University of Kansas

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 top 2006 Distinguished Service Award to Abhijit Basu

 Citation by Marion E. (Pat) Bickford

Abhijit Basu is a scientist who has received many national and international awards and honors and is the creator of a large body of work and publications. Tonight, however, we honor Basu for his service as GSA books science editor since 1996, during which time he has overseen the review and acceptance of more than 125 Special Papers and Memoirs and the evaluation of countless more proposals. During his tenure, Basu has earned a reputation as a science editor of highest standards, ensuring that GSA publishes only books of broad interest and high quality. In such a position, longevity like this would, on its own, be more than enough to warrant the GSA Distinguished Service Award, as anyone who has done the job can attest. But Basu has given GSA much more than time. He transformed the editor’s role from one of evaluating whatever proposals came GSA’s way to one that actively solicits high-quality book projects at non-GSA (e.g., International Geological Congress, Lunar & Planetary Science Conference) as well as GSA meetings. Under Basu’s direction, GSA now produces 17–20 books per year. Prior to 1996, GSA produced half as many annually.

Basu also stuck by GSA during a time of disorganization at headquarters when he could easily have chosen to end his term after a stellar run as editor. His influence and steady support during that time helped bring GSA books to the successful and professional program it is today.

In 2003, Basu became chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University. Again, this would have been a completely understandable reason to end his editor term, and yet he stayed on for 3 more years while GSA worked to find a successor.

Finally, those who know Basu well are aware that, more than a fine scientist, he also is a poet, a lover of art, and a connoisseur of wine and, of course, single malt scotch!

Response by Abhijit Basu

Mr. President and Friends,
After killing Brutus, Mark Antony entered Cleopatra's bedroom and said: "I have not come here to talk." I am not Mark Antony, and, this is not a bedroom. So, I'll say a word. Let us work to make GSA the Everest of all geological publications as Jon Olsen, Jeanette Hammann and colleagues in the Publications Office are doing. Thank you.

 top 2006 Distinguished Service Award to David E. Fastovsky

Citation by Ben A. van der Pluijm

It is truly an honor and a personal pleasure to introduce our colleague and my friend David Fastovsky as the 2006 recipient of the Society’s Distinguished Service Award. David has tirelessly served the Society since the 1990s, as a member of the Technical Program Committee and especially in various publications functions. In the latter roles, publications, the cornerstone of our Society, he served as associate editor for the GSA Bulletin, as a member and as chair of the Long-Range Planning and the Publications Committees, and, from 2000 to 2005, as editor of the journal Geology.

I first met David when he agreed to serve as co-editor of Geology, which soon entered tumultuous times at the Society. With a keen eye on the journal’s responsibility to the earth sciences community to publish novel and exciting research and with a good sense of humor, David firmly guided the journal to become today’s leading disciplinary publication in our field. As many authors can attest, the role of science editor involves sometimes unpopular actions, but David’s decisions always placed the science community first. His editorial years generated many fun and interesting anecdotes that are better left for less formal settings than this ceremony, and some are, well, best left entirely.

I look forward seeing David’s future ventures as he continues to display an unusual level of activity in his professional and personal lives. In the meantime, for his lasting contributions to the Society, I am sure you agree that he is a most deserving recipient of the Geological Society of America’s 2006 Distinguished Service Award.

Response by David E. Fastovsky

I am very grateful for this recognition; I am equally grateful, however, for the trust and honor bestowed upon me by the Society in allowing me the privilege of editing Geology for 6 years. During that time, the journal went electronic, saw its submissions double, and moved palpably towards being the most prestigious publication in the geosciences. With so healthy a journal, it was comparatively easy to navigate the roiled waters of publishing by professional societies.

The editorship was a strange cocktail of daily tedium and high drama. At >1 paper/day, one could hardly let things sit. Yet, the relentlessly high quality of the submissions required careful decisions. I remember regretfully a few that “got away,” as well as some aggrieved comments that genuinely gave me pause for thought. In the main, though, a rotating, energetic editorship that adheres to the highest standards ensures that the best ideas in our field will appear in the pages of Geology.

In short space permitted (at Geology, we always observe size limits), I must acknowledge my redoubtable editorial assistant (my wife, Lesley), the Managing Editors (Faith Rogers, Anika Burkard, and Lyne Yohe), and the science Co-Editors (Hugh Jenkyns, Tina Neimi, and especially mein alte freund Ben van der Pluijm). Under Jon Olsen’s leadership, GSA is blessed with a flexible, creative Publications Department whose real achievements are largely unsung. Finally let me express my gratitude to all the reviewers, whose thoughtful efforts constituted the real heavy lifting at Geology.

 top 2006 Distinguished Service Award to Roger L. Kaesler

Citation by Bruce S. Lieberman

Dwight Eisenhower said “true merit is like a river: the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.” Roger Kaesler has had a successful career without making unnecessary noise. He’s not only a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he’s the only person I know who’s voted for every Republican since Eisenhower. Today we acknowledge the great and important contributions Roger made throughout his career: hundreds of scientific papers, including pioneering work in the study of climate change and evolution, and multivariate statistical analyses of fossils; the successful training of generations of students; and above all, his tireless work and distinguished service to the Geological Society of America, the University of Kansas (KU), and paleontology on behalf of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology.

Roger helped rejuvenate the Treatise, increasing its productivity and output by diligently shepherding many volumes to completion. He spent tireless periods, in Darwin’s words, “daily and hourly scrutinizing” a Treatise volume from initial layout to final production, and with great pride he used to officially present KU’s chancellor with each new offering: unfortunately, I don’t have any statistics on how many KU chancellors became brachiopod experts.

I think of Roger not only as a great scientist and editor but a cherished mentor, father figure, and friend. I owe a special debt of gratitude to the man who helped grow and guide my career with constant support and encouragement, yet he was also not above giving practical advice such as, “Never use the F-word in a faculty meeting.”

This acknowledgement and recognition by the GSA, the preeminent scientific organization of our discipline, is one of the highest honors and appropriately recognizes Roger’s wonderful achievements and dedication to service; the future of the Treatise is secure thanks to his skillful stewardship.

Response by Stephen T. Hasiotis (on behalf of Roger L. Kaesler)

Unfortunately Roger is ill and regrets that he is unable to be here today. He has asked me to accept this award on his behalf and to respond for him. I can strive to emulate Roger, but that may be too tall an order. Even so, I will try to convey his persistent love and dedication to teaching, research, and service in the geological sciences and to the scientific community at large.

Roger is grateful and humbled that our society has chosen to honor him with this award. According to Roger, service to one’s society is a great opportunity and privilege — not a burden or distraction from our research and teaching duties as many see it today. Roger has often related that service is an essential means by which we can engage and mentor our colleagues, both young and in their prime, to promote the constructive exchange, debate, dissemination, and education of scientific concepts. Through service, our teaching and research can be more effective by nurturing and encouraging future generations of geologists of all disciplines to become good stewards of science, science education, and our societies.

Roger would say, I challenge you, my dears friends and colleagues, to serve this great society as well as our sister societies and give of yourselves so that you, too, will be as enriched professionally and spiritually as I have been. Roger would like to thank those many individuals who have inspired him throughout his career to be a positive role model in every aspect of his life, whether it be a collegial academic or a good neighbor. On behalf of Roger, thank you very much for this great honor and recognition of his efforts.