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Scott BurnsI am passionate about ensuring support for the next generation of geoscientists. Now that I am well established in my career, I give back every chance I get. I included GSA in my will so that I can give back to more students than just my own.”—Dr. Scott F. Burns

There are many ways donors choose to give back to the Geological Society of America. For Dr. Scott F. Burns, one important way to ensure a future for aspiring geoscientists is to include GSA in his estate plan. The Foundation gratefully acknowledges the foresight and dedication demonstrated by thoughtful donors like Dr. Burns and honors them through the Pardee Legacy Circle. The Pardee Legacy Circle is named in honor of Joseph T. Pardee (1871–1960) in recognition of a $2.7 million bequest from the estate of Pardee’s daughter, Mary Pardee Kelly (1905–1994). Joseph Pardee spent his entire career as a USGS geologist in the Pacific Northwest and is best known for his work on Glacial Lake Missoula.

Scott, like Joseph T. Pardee, has spent much of his career in the Pacific Northwest teaching and studying the local geology, including Glacial Lake Missoula. Scott joined GSA as a student in 1973, became a fellow in 2004, and has served in many volunteer positions, including chair of the Environmental & Engineering Geology Division, treasurer of the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division, and chair of the Cordilleran Section. He has also received several GSA awards, including the Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer Award and the GSA Public Service Award.

Scott has a voracious appetite for knowledge, a passion for supporting future geoscientists, and a love of connecting with the many friends he has made over the years at GSA meetings: “When I think about what GSA has meant to me over my nearly 50-year membership, there are many things that come to mind. One is the knowledge I’ve gained through the publications; Geology and GSA Bulletin are excellent sources for geoscience that I still use in my classroom today. I also appreciate the Annual Meetings—I’ve been to most of them over the last fifty years. I enjoy listening to friends give talks and every year I try to give at least one talk myself. I also make a point of bringing students so they can experience what for many of them is their first professional geoscience meeting. I am also very thankful for and supportive of the scholarship money that GSA gives out. I always push my students to apply for scholarships. When I was a student I had no money and even small grants would make a huge difference.

This enthusiasm for future geoscientists is why Scott decided to include the GSA Foundation in his estate plan and encourages others do the same: “It’s a way for your name to live on and it helps the students of the future. All gifts are much appreciated, because almost everything the Foundation gives out goes to students.

If you would like to include the GSA Foundation in your estate plan like Scott, there are several options for doing so, including bequests; gifts of retirement plan assets; life income gifts through charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and charitable gift annuities; and gifts of life insurance in the form of a new or existing policy. For more information including sample language and other resources, visit or contact Debbie Marcinkowski at +1-303-357-1047 or

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