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The AAG is pleased to announce the selection of eight Honorees who will receive the 2016 AAG Honors in one of six categories. Recipients to be honored at an annual awards luncheon during the AAG Annual Meeting are:

  • Susan Christopherson, Cornell University, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • George Malanson, University of Iowa, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Aaron Wolf, Oregon State University, Gilbert White Public Service Award
  • Linda Mearns, National Center for Atmospheric Research, AAG Distinguished Scholarship Award
  • Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo, State University of New York, College at Cortland, Distinguished Teaching Award
  • Kavita Pandit, University of Georgia, Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors
  • Carrie Stokes, United States Agency for International Development, Gilbert White Public Service Award
  • William R. Strong, Emeritus Professor, University of North Alabama, Gilbert Grosvenor Geographic Education Honors

AAG Honors are the highest awards offered by the Association of American Geographers.  They are offered annually to recognize outstanding accomplishments by members in research & scholarship, teaching, education, service to the discipline, public service outside academe and for lifetime achievement.  Although the AAG and its specialty groups make other important awards (see Grants and Awards), AAG Honors remains among the most prestigious awards in American geography and have been awarded since 1951 (complete list).

Nominations are invited from individual AAG members, specialty groups, affinity groups, departments, and other interested parties.  Currently, honors are awarded in several categories, including Distinguished Teaching Honors, Gilbert F. White Distinguished Public Service Honors, Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors, Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education, Distinguished Scholarship Honors, and Lifetime Achievement Honors.

All AAG awards will be presented at the upcoming AAG Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif., during a special awards luncheon on Saturday, April 2, 2016.

About the Honorees

(select a name to view citations)

Susan Christopherson is recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for her considerable and long standing contributions to research, public engagement, teaching, and service. Her work on media, optics, agriculture, renewable energy, and manufacturing has included engagement with local economic development authorities to produce research that contributes to spatially and socially balanced economic growth. Christopherson’s more recent work on nontraditional energy sources has continued this tradition, including her appointment to a National Research Council panel to consider the implications of shale gas and oil development for local communities and the dissemination of policy reports on the risks and impacts of crude oil rail transport. As the first woman to be promoted to full professor within her department as well as the first female chair, she has also broken ground in terms of increasing diversity within the field of economic geography, which she has also done through her mentoring and teaching.

George Malanson’s work tackles one of the most challenging and highly charged issues of our time – climate change. His work is exceptional in its recognition of the complexity of the factors impacting our rapidly changing environment — its response to natural disturbance and human impact. Indeed, he is regarded as one of the world’s leading scientists on the topic and has come to be recognized for his path breaking and thoughtful research, insights informed by science, creativity, scholarly productivity, and service. He is also widely respected as a mentor and instructor. Included among his many accomplishments is his 1993 book, ‘Riparian Landscapes’ (1993). It is regarded by many as seminal in landscape-ecological research. His work and contributions are praiseworthy and indeed he is highly deserving of the AAG Lifetime Achievement Award.

Aaron Wolf has been selected as one of two recipients of the award given in Gilbert White’s honor. Throughout the world and in multiple contexts (both academic, governmental, and policy), Wolf is known for bringing a humanitarian, benevolent approach to his work on transboundary water resources. He combines environmental science with strategies from conflict/dispute resolution and spiritual teaching from a variety of faiths. He has also established himself as a ‘meticulous scholar’ driven by a ‘sense of duty’. He was recently recognized for his work to motivate a generation of once doubting decision makers entrenched in Middle East water politics. He is indeed a giant in the field.

This year’s 2016 Distinguished Scholarship Award is going to Linda Mearns for her pioneering and agenda setting contributions to the field of climate change assessment science, particularly her sustained efforts to understand how climate change will be translated into climate variability and extremes and to model climate change at the regional level. She has made unparalleled contributions to international and national climate change assessment efforts, including authorship on four assessment reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and has led numerous climate assessment projects, including directorship of the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program. Linda’s sustained and impressive record of scholarship makes her highly deserving of this award.

Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo is recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award for her exemplary contributions to geographic education both within and outside the classroom. She has been a faculty member at SUNY College at Cortland for over 25 years. She is an exceptional teacher-scholar with a strong national and international reputation in the discipline of geography. Johnston-Anumonwo is highly active in geographic education through various organizations such as the National Council on Geographic Education, the New York African Studies Association, and the AP Human Geography Program. In addition, she has published in numerous textbooks on Africa, urbanization, and feminist geography. Finally, her outstanding career in teaching is evident in her dedication to student success.

Kavita Pandit is awarded Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors in recognition of the broad impact of her extraordinary service to geography. Pandit’s many contributions include serving as AAG President and regional councilor of the Southeastern Division of the organization; leadership roles in the Population Specialty Group of AAG; and distinguished appointments and leadership positions in international education. She has also held several prominent editorial board memberships and contributed to numerous national and international institutions including the American Geographical Society and the Association of International Educators. Pandit is a steadfast supporter of AAG. She respects the diverse nature of geography in its subfields, its differing institutions, its role in K-12 education, and its application outside of academia. She is truly deserving of this honor.

Carrie Stokes has been selected as one of two recipients of this year’s Gilbert White Public Service Award. Stokes epitomizes the ‘geographer as leader’ as demonstrated by her unwavering commitment to public service through advancing geography within and beyond government, Through her years of advocacy, leadership and action to promote the use of remote sensing and GIS to inform international development, humanitarian assistance, and climate change mitigation, she has had a profound impact on government policy and its on-the-ground effectiveness around the world, from Bangladesh to Central America. As an unsurpassed ambassador for geography and its ability to transform development programming, she deserves our highest commendation as an “enabler of dreams.”

Through his foundational work with the Alabama Geographic Alliance and the National Geographic Society’s education program, William Strong has worked, and continues to work, with educators and geographers to improve the teaching of geography at the primary and secondary school levels. As a faculty member and long-term chair of the Department of Geography at the University of North Alabama, Strong is also an outstanding geographic educator in his own right while diligently advocating for geography in higher education. Between his work in geographic education and his work as a geographic educator, Strong has had a significant impact on the landscape of geographic education in the United States. He is being recognized here for his extensive and selfless contributions to geographic education.