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. For more information, please visit the Waldo E. Smith Award page.
Established in 1982, the Smith Medal was named in honor of Waldo E. Smith, whose dutiful efforts and service developed AGU into a vibrant, growing organization. In 1944, Smith became the first Executive Secretary of AGU, and in 1970 he was given the title of Executive Director Emeritus. The Smith Medal was given in even-numbered years to one honoree in recognition for “extraordinary service to geophysics. This medal honored individuals who played unique leadership roles in such diverse areas as scientific associations, education, legislation, research, public understanding of science, management, and philanthropy, and whose accomplishments have greatly strengthened and helped advance the geophysical sciences.” Smith was the first recipient of this medal.
A trained civil engineer, Smith managed the administrative affairs of AGU from 1944 through 1970. Throughout his tenure as chief staff officer and editor, he worked tirelessly to promote geophysics on the national and international scene — with AGU at its forefront.