Recipients of Honorary Awards
Victor J Mayer
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio state University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Award presented in Hawaii, 1997
Introduction by Dan Jax.
I was very honored to be asked to say a few things about Vic Mayer and why he has been selected for such a prestigious award. It would be quite easy to list all of the projects headed, awards received, offices held, students taught, science activities written, and number of international people influenced over the course of Vic’s professional life. It would not do him justice, however. Instead, in the spirit of Earth Systems’s Education, which was founded in a large part by Vic, I would like to give a more relevant and holistic view of why Vic deserves this award.
The story takes place through the eyes of a young graduate student beginning his studies in science education at Ohio State. Upon his arrival, Vic immediately put him to work helping to develop science activities to be used in middle school classrooms. Vic nurtured and guided this young man through his first steps as an earth science teacher. Once this new teacher left Ohio State and set out on his own, Vic did not forget him, but encouraged him to keep returning to do coursework and to be involved in avariety of projects, including the conference where the philosophy behind Earth systems education was first devised.
This young teacher continued to be involved with Earth systems because Vic offered the opportunity. Eventually, the professional life of this young teacher was profoundly changed by a return to Ohio State to pursue coursework and research that would lead to becoming a change agent in science education at the local and national levels.
I am proud to be that teacher. I am here at this conference because of Vic. I would not have anything of value to offer to other teachers if it was not for the opportunities offered to me by Vic and the guidance he has given me over the last several years.
Yet, none of this is why I think he deserves this award. He deserves this award because there are so many other teachers and university educators around the world who have been similarly guided and influenced by him. Vic is a voice for science education reform that is heard on national and international levels. His influence is felt through his students and students of his students and will continue well into the future. Few people have had more of an effect on science education reform, particularly in the geosciences. I am very fortunate to have Vic as my mentor and my friend.