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AIPG Honors and Award Descriptions

Nominations for awards can be made online (click on the name of the award), emailed to, or faxed to 1-303-253-9220, by January 15th to the AIPG National Headquarters. National awards include the Ben H. Parker Memorial Distinguished Service Medal, the Martin Van Couvering Memorial Service to the Institute Award, the John T. Galey, Sr. Memorial Public Service Award, AIPG Honorary Membership, John Stewart Memorial Early Career Professional AwardOutstanding Achievement Award Major Contribution to the Profession and the Presidential Certificate of Merit.

The AIPG awards committee reviews each application for consideration based on the comparison of the applicant's record to the description of the award.  Each application is presented and reviewed by the awards committee, discussed, and voted on by the full committee.  A majority vote is required to grant the award.  The awards committee reviews each application thoroughly.  In some years the committee decides that a particular award will not be made. If this is the case, the applicant may be re-considered the following year.  

If in any year the awards committee does not find a nominee whose contribution merits the award, it may recommend that no award be made. The awards committee submits its recommendations for each and every award to the AIPG National Executive Committee for final approval. Detailed information on why an applicant is approved or not for an award is held confidentially by the committee and only available to the AIPG National Executive Committee.


The Ben H. Parker Memorial Distinguished Service Medal is the Institute’s most distinguished award. It was established by the Executive Committee in 1969 in posthumous honor of a truly great leader, who devoted much of his life to improve the quality of geology and geologists and the services they provide. The medal is awarded to individuals who have long records of distinguished and outstanding service to the profession.

The most important criterion for this medal is a continual record of contribution to the profession of geology. A wide variety of contributions can be considered, such as (a) the education and training of geologists, (b) professional development of geologists, (c) service to the Institute, (d) leadership in the surveillance of laws, rules, and regulations affecting geology, geologists, and the public, and (e) activity in local and regional affairs of geologists.


The Martin Van Couvering Memorial Service to the Institute Award was established by the Executive Committee in 1979 in posthumous honor of the first president of the Institute. Martin Van Couvering made the presidency a full-time occupation for the first two years of the Institute’s history. His dynamic leadership, diplomacy, and organizational abilities established the solid foundation from which the Institute has grown. Few, if any, have given so much to the Institute.

The most important criterion for the Martin Van Couvering Memorial Award is service to the Institute. As in other awards, a wide variety of contributions to the Institute may be considered. By far the most important contribution a geologist can make to the Institute is that of time. It is the contributions by individuals to the Sections, the committees, and special projects that enable the Institute to enhance the practice of geology.


The American Institute of Professional Geologists’ Public Service Award was established by the Executive Committee in 1982 in recognition of one of its primary purposes: service to the public. In 1992, it was renamed the John T. Galey, Sr., Memorial Public Service Award, in posthumous honor of our fourth President, whose long professional career was a continuum of service to both the geological and the general public.

Recognition of public service is important because so many Members have distinguished themselves and the Institute by giving expert testimony to governmental commissions and committees, and by providing geological expertise where it was needed by the public at large.

The application of geology to the needs of the general public may be in many different forms. Recipients of this award have outstanding records of public service on the national, state, or local level well beyond their normal professional responsibilities.


Since 1984, AIPG has conferred Honorary Membership to those who have an exemplary record of distinguished service to the profession and to the Institute.


The John Stewart Memorial Early Career Professional Award was established by the Executive Committee in 2019 in posthumous honor of John Stewart, who graciously gave his time and experience to AIPG and in encouraging geologists in their early careers and professional growth. This award is to honor an Early Career Professional member who has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the geologic profession and AIPG at the section and/or national level, and in particular, to mentoring and aiding in the advancement of Early Career Professional members in their early careers and within AIPG.

This award is to assure that active and ambitious Early Career Professional member geologists are honored as the future of AIPG.


The Outstanding Achievement Award was established by the 1989 Executive Committee to honor a non-member of AIPG who is widely recognized as a major contributor to the profession of geology. The award is not necessarily given annually, but only when the Awards Committee recommends an outstanding candidate to the Executive Committee for their consideration.

In 2013, the Executive Committee voted to expand the scope of the award to include candidates engaged in all types of media that inform or enlighten the public on the roles of professional geologists and the geosciences in society. This award may be for work in may media such as visual (television, film, webcasts), auditory (radio, pod casts), or printed (books, articles, websites). The work must have been completed within five years preceding the award nomination and the nominee may be an individual, a group, or company.


Each year, the AIPG President may award one or more certificates of merit to individuals who, through dedicated and meritorious service, have made an outstanding contribution to the Institute.