Ward Neale

Recipients of Honorary Awards

Ward Neale

Award presented in Calgary, 2003

Introduction by Alan Morgan

The second distinguished recipient to be presented with an honorary award for a significant contribution to the field of education at the 4th meeting of IGEO at Calgary was Ward Neale. The presentation to Ward was made in the evening of the IGEO Banquet held in downtown Calgary.

Ernest Richard Ward Neale 

Ward, as he is known to most practitioners in Canada, is now a “retired”, but most certainly not inactive, geologist who resides in Calgary. He is also the Honorary Chair of this, the 2003, Fourth International Geoscience Education Congress.

This evening it gives me great pleasure to introduce Ward to those of you from across Canada and overseas.

Ward was born in Montreal almost exactly 80 years ago in July of 1923. From 1943-1945 he served in the Royal Canadian Navy and he started in university at the end of the Second World War. He was educated at McGill University, where he graduated in 1949 and where he was the recipient of the Logan Gold Medal. In the following year he married his lifelong partner, Roxie (who he first met at McGill), who is with us tonight. That same year he moved from Montreal to Yale University where he obtained his M.S. degree, followed by his Ph.D. in 1952. From 1952 to 1954 he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester in NY.

ward neale table

The “Neale Table” at the IGEO Banquet, Calgary. From left to right; Anne Morgan, Ludwig Stroink (GeoSciEd V Organising Committeee); Bronte Nicholls (Newsletter Editor IGEO); John Smol (background); Ward Neale and Roxie Neale (foreground).

Shortly after, Ward began an illustrious career with the Geological Survey of Canada, heading the Appalachian Geology Section and, later, the Precambrian Geology Section. In between, he served as the Commonwealth Geology Liaison Officer in London (1963-65) from where he first met the late Gerry Cooray when on a
trip to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

In 1968 he became Professor and head of the Geology Department at Memorial University of Newfoundland. While there he organized a symposium on Geoscience Aid to developing Countries at the International Geological Congree in Montreal, 1972, in which Gerry Cooray participated. This led to the creation of AGID, the Association of Geoscientists for International Development. In 1976 he moved to Calgary as Head of the Geological Information Subdivision of the Institute of Sedimentary and Petroleum Geology. He held this position until 1981. Ward retained his ties to academia whilst in Calgary by holding an adjunct position at the University of Calgary and acting on the University Senate.

Ward’s service to the Canadian geoscience community continued outside of government and academia. He had joined the Geological Association of Canada in 1953 and was President in 1972 -73. In 1976, he became President of the Canadian Geoscience Council. He served as a Director of the Canadian Geological Foundation from 1973 to 1978 and acted as Editor of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences from 1974 to 1980.

The Canadian geological fraternity and peers had by now recognised Ward’s service with several awards. These included The Bancroft Award of the Royal Society of Canada (1975); the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977; the R.T. Bell Medal of the Canadian Mining Journal in 1977; and the Distinguished Service Award of the Geological Association of Canada in 1981.

In 1982 Ward returned to Newfoundland, this time as Vice-President Academic of Memorial University, where he remained until retiring in 1987. Ward’s attention was now becoming focused on outreach and public awareness of science. Awards continued to follow, with the Ambrose Medal of the Geological Association of Canada in 1986; as an Officer of the Order of Canada (1990); The 125th Anniversary of Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992, and then the ERW Neale Medal of the Geological Association of Canada in 1995. The latter medal was struck in 1994 in Ward’s name to award those — many of whom are in this room tonight — who have made “outstanding efforts to communicate and explain geoscience to the public”. Ward was the honorary recipient of the first medal.

Ward has served on the Committee for the Association of Geoscientists for International Development, Chaired the Royal Society of Canada’s Committee on Public Awareness of Science and was co-founder of the Calgary Science Network. He acted as Chair of this organisation in 1989. Practically all of us in Canada who are interested in public awareness and educational outreach have been aided, mentored or inspired by Ward’s ceaseless efforts and activities in this area.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me tremendous pleasure to present IGEO’s 2003 Honorary Award for distinguished contribution for education and outreach to Ward Neale.

Alan V. Morgan 

ward neale

Ward Neale, post ceremony, with his award that consisted of a polished slab from a single Labradorite crystal from Nain, Labrador.