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waldo e. smith award

Information on the Waldo E. Smith Award

The Waldo E. Smith Award is an award given biennially in even numbered years to a senior scientist in recognition of extraordinary service to Earth and space science. Successful candidates have strengthened and helped advance our scientific disciplines, as well as played unique leadership roles in scientific associations, education, legislation, research, management, philanthropy, or the public understanding of science.

Originally established in 1982 as the Waldo E. Smith Medal, it was reclassified as the Waldo E. Smith Award in 2012. Waldo E. Smith, a specialist in hydrology and civil engineering, became the first AGU Executive Secretary (and later, Executive Director) in 1944 and served in that capacity for 26 years. Under his leadership, AGU launched new scientific journals and Smith helped guide the careers of many young geophysicists. As Executive Director Emeritus, Smith became the first recipient of his namesake medal.

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Award benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our honorees. Recipients of the Waldo E. Smith Award will receive the following benefits during the award presentation year:

  • 1
    An engraved award
  • 2
    Recognition in Eos
  • 3
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting
  • 4
    Two complimentary tickets to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting


To better understand eligibility for nominators, supporters and committee members, review AGU’s Honors Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • 1

    Nominees: The nominee should be a senior scientist, but is not required to be an active AGU member. They should be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • 2

    Nominators: Nominators must be active AGU members and in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy. Duplicate nominations for the same individual will not be accepted. However, one co-nominator is permitted (but not required) per nomination.

  • 3

    Supporters: Individuals who write letters of support for the nominee are not required to be active AGU members but must be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.

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Nomination package

Your nomination package must contain all of the following files, which should be no more than two pages in length per document. For detailed information on the requirements, review the Union Awards, Medals and Prizes Frequently Asked Questions.

  • A nomination letter with one-sentence citation (150 characters or less). Letterhead stationery is preferred. Nominator’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required. The citation should appear at either the beginning or end of the nomination letter.
  • A curriculum vitae for the nominee. Include the candidate’s name, address and email, history of employment, degrees, research experience, honors, memberships, and service to the community through committee work, advisory boards, etc.
  • A selected bibliography stating the total number, the types of publications and the number published by AGU.
  • Three letters of support not including the nomination letter. Letterhead is preferred. Supporter’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required.

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Nominations are Open!

The nomination cycle for 2022 AGU Union awards, medals, and prizes is now open until 15 April. Nominate a colleague, peer or student today.

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award recipients

Name Year of honor
Therese Moretto Jorgensen 2020
M. Meghan Miller 2018
Mark B. Moldwin 2016
Meinrat Andreae 2014


Past medal recipients

The Waldo E. Smith Medal is inactive. In June 2012, the Council agreed to the Honors & Recognition Committee’s recommendation to reclassify the Waldo E. Smith Medal to a Union Award following the approved Union-wide criteria for a medal and an award.

Name Year of honor
David Simpson 2012
A.F. Spilhaus, Jr. 2010
Harsh K. Gupta 2008
John A. Knauss 2006
J. Michael Hall 2004
Ivan I. Mueller 2002
Rosina Bierbaum 2000
Margaret A. Shea 1998
Ned Ostenso 1996
Cecil H. Green 1994
Earl G. Droessler 1992
Naoshi Fukushima
Philip H. Abelson
Thomas F. Malone 1986
Waldo E. Smith 1984


Honors Contacts

AGU Staff Headshot Moore

Artesha Moore

Vice President, Affiliation, Engagement & Membership

202-777-7530 | [email protected]

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Leah Bland

Program Manager, Honors

202-777-7389 | [email protected]

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Antonio Covington

Program Specialist, Section Awards and Lectures

202-777-7484 | [email protected]