- © 2000 by AASP Foundation
The American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists bestows upon VAUGHN M. BRYANT, JR. its Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his dedicated service to the Association by providing leadership in various offices and committees as well as his outstanding contributions to furthering the science of palynology by bringing it to the attention of the non-palynological public through both the popular press and the video media
PRESENTATION BY KENNETH M. PIEL
Had I been asked to sketch a profile of the ideal candidate for the AASP Distinguished Service Award, I could have selected a no more appropriate model than the man we honor today. The professional career of Vaughn M. Bryant, Jr. has most capably addressed most of the objectives of AASP: to promote the science of palynology; to foster the spirit of scientific research among its members and others engaged in this field of science; to discover and gather information and data on the subject; to disseminate that information and data to its members and the public alike; and to educate its members and the public in general in this area of science. Indeed, those phrases constitute a ringing echo of Vaughn’s AASP service.
Vaughn joined AASP in 1968, in its first year of existence, and his first AASP contribution was a coauthored paper presented at the 1971 AASP Annual Meeting in Tucson. His 1975 suggestion that AASP begin its own journal, rather than continue using Geoscience and Man, presaged an intense involvement in the Association’s activities which has continued unabated for 24 years. His clear and persuasive reiteration of the advantages of having our own journal convinced the Board of Directors Meeting in 1976 to launch AASP’s own journal—titled simply Palynology. Vaughn was Co-Editor of the first issue of Palynology, assumed sole editorship the next year, and in 1979 was elected the first Managing Editor of AASP’s then burgeoning series of publications—a position he held for 4 years.
Vaughn was elected President-elect of AASP for 1983–1984, and served as its President for 1984–1985. Since 1990 he has held the position of Trustee and Secretary of the AASP Foundation, and he was the AASP Representative to the International Federation of Palynological Societies from 1992–1996. Vaughn has been the General Chairman for two AASP Annual Meetings; and prepared the initial bid document for, and was Co-Chair of, the 9th International Palynological Congress. And, incidentally, along the way he found time to chair the Logo Selection Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Ballot Committee (twice), and the Public Relations Committee (for 4 years).
Those whose tenure on the Board overlapped Vaughn’s were witness to his boundless energy, and the eagerness and willingness with which he undertook any responsibility, no matter the number of tasks to which he might already have been committed. Vaughn was one of two AASP representatives on the Search Selection Committee for the first Director of the AASP Center for Excellence in Palynology (CENEX) at Louisiana State University, and subsequently served as one of three members of an AASP Liaison Team which smoothed the Center’s establishment.
He has been the quintessential volunteer, and the depth of his commitment was never more evident than in his efforts on behalf of the 9th IPC. In the two months prior to that meeting, in addition to his teaching load, chairmanship of the Anthropology Department, his Congress responsibilities and overseeing the construction of his and his wife’s dream home, he dealt with both a severe family illness and an injury he suffered in a serious laboratory accident. Despite all of this his dedication never wavered, his work on the Congress continued unimpeded, and its success reflects the inestimable value of his leadership and management skills.
Along side this array of leadership accomplishments stands an equally impressive list of technical achievements. Among these are: 5 symposia organized and chaired at AASP Annual Meetings; 7 books; 44 book chapters, invited articles and short articles; 35 refereed journal articles; 13 technical reports; 13 articles published in magazines and newsletters; 1 web site publication; and 14 papers presented at AASP Annual Meetings. And Vaughn has given 6 interviews or video presentations on major television networks, including CNN Science News, Fox News, PBS and NBC’s Today show.
Not only have Vaughn’s written and oral presentations been noteworthy for their clarity and erudition, but his work has attracted the attention of both the popular press and the video media, and he has used these avenues to promote palynology before the non-palynological public. Major contributors to his success in these endeavors include an infectious personal charm, a relaxed manner, and the ability to write in a fashion which appeals to the audience of the moment.
In 1993 Vaughn’s technical presentation won the Unocal Best Applications Paper Award, an unusual and signal achievement for a non-stratigraphic paper.
Vaughn the Association herewith publicly acknowledges your rich history of leadership and technical excellence, and expresses its deepest and sincerest appreciation in the tangible form of its 11th Distinguished Service Award.
RESPONSE BY VAUGHN M. BRYANT, JR.
I would like to thank Ken Piel, members of the AASP Awards Committee, and the AASP Board of Directors for bestowing this great honor upon me.
In 1968, Al Traverse was teaching at The University of Texas in Austin and convinced me to join the newly formed pollen society. In fact, even the name of the society was not yet determined. Also, at that early date one could not join AASP without a recommendation from two AASP members in good standing. I remember that I was a bit concerned, as were some of the founding members of AASP wondering if there was really a place in the society for palynologists working with post-Tertiary deposits.
Within a few years I discovered that I suffer from a genetic defect that prevents me from saying NO when asked to help. In 1975, I remember recommending that AASP begin its own journal. Rick Pierce, the editor at that time, was not overly excited about the work and task of switching from GEOSCIENCES AND MAN to a new journal done entirely by AASP. Nevertheless, Rick and the AASP Board agreed and within a year we had produced the first volume of our current journal PALYNOLOGY. Thus began my journey of volunteerism within AASP.
I am certainly not alone. There are many others in AASP who suffer from the same inability to say NO when help is needed. Over the years the reason AASP has been so successful and has remained one of the best values for your annual dues is because of all those who have devoted thousands of hours of time to the benefit of our AASP society. My secretaries, graduate students, and even the dean of my college often ask, “when is your term of office in AASP over?” I usually smile and reply, “I was appointed for life.”
During my 31 years in AASP I have had the good fortune of seeing AASP grow from only a few founding members to over 1,000 during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Unfortunately, more recent figures show that our membership is slowly waning as industry cuts back their emphasis on pollen research and as some of our members retire.
Like many of you, I worry about what may happen to the discipline of palynology and to AASP in the years to come. Both have been a big part of my life for more than three decades. What I want most is to find a way to help the younger generation enjoy the same benefits that I have been privileged to enjoy. Perhaps volunteerism is one way.
What I don’t want to happen is for some future archaeologist to uncover the dusty remains of a once thriving discipline and then record in the history books that this now extinct group should be named Extinctasaurs palynomorphous.