Wes Ward, Chair of the GSA Foundation Board of Trustees and formerly of the USGS (retired), shares how his delight in geology, and desire to help aspiring geologists to share in that delight, motivates his service to GSA.
What inspires you to give so freely of your time serving as a GSAF Trustee?
I have been delighted, absolutely delighted in being a geologist! The excitement that I had in discovering this field as an undergraduate; the camaraderie, challenges, and rich relationships in my days with my fellow graduate students and faculty; and the discoveries and successes I enjoyed as a professional are not only that much better when shared, but can be improved upon by my enabling others not just to experience, but to take things even further. With all that I have seen and learned, I marvel at how much more can be experienced or discovered by others if I but give a small portion of my time or talent in advancing opportunities for them—giving them their chance to “blow us all away!” I can’t wait to see what they will do!!
What motivates you to give to GSA?
Many people, most of whom I will never meet, made it possible for me to have a great career in geology. They had the foresight to either set up, or make a contribution to, a fund to help undergrads and graduate students such as I was then. Their faith in future generations is something I admire and both feel obligated to, and very much enjoy, emulating. Working in the Society and the Foundation became a “pay it forward” joyous endeavor, as I would never be able to thank everyone individually. I could not just become personally successful in using the gifts they provided, but go a step further to help the next generation, as I was helped. I am proud to do my part in the development and continuation of our science.
What would you say to others thinking about making a financial commitment to the Society?
There are the blunt questions such as, “If not you, who?” that remind or alert us that both students and professionals are the best to know how great our science is and what it takes to keep it strong in the future. If they but join the Society in helping us build and maintain the resources to support students and professionals at all levels of their careers, we give ourselves the opportunity to make critical advances and discoveries on which so much and so many depend.
What would you like to say to other people who donate their time and resources to GSA?
You are to be celebrated, friends and colleagues; you know what is at stake and have chosen to help us advance. Thank you, thank you!!
Captions: Camera Ford, a 2016 On To the Future participant, during her tectonics field trip in the Andes in January 2016.
Wes and Camera during one-on-one mentoring time at the 2016 GSA Annual Meeting.