Tom Dutro was born on May 20, 1923, in Columbus, Ohio, and was raised in Marysville, Ohio. He entered Oberlin College in 1940. World War II cut short his college studies, and in the winter of 1942-1943 the U.S. Army Air Force was training him in meteorology at Denison University. He spent the rest of his Army career in western Greenland as a weatherman concerned with North Atlantic shipping and airplanes. The Germans had meteorological stations in eastern Greenland and Tom has some great stories about dueling weather stations. He was discharged and returned home in early 1946.

In the Fall of 1946, Tom was back at Oberlin where he met Nancy and they formed a life-long partnership that same year. Tom and Nancy were graduated in 1948, but Tom regards himself as a member of the Class of 1945. The Dutros then went to Yale University where Tom received his Ph.D. in 1953. In 1993, Tom received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Denison.

Tom Dutro began working part-time for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in the summer of 1948 in the Potash Project in Carlsbad, New Mexico. While at Yale, he received a career appointment with the USGS and worked in the Navy Oil Program in northern Alaska from 1949-1956. Tom became part of Preston Cloud’s “flock” when he joined the USGS Paleontology and Stratigraphy Branch (P&S) in 1956. He retired from the Branch in 1994. Among other administrative jobs for the USGS, he served as the Chief of the P&S Branch from 1962-1968 (John Pojeta had the good fortune of being hired by Tom in 1963), member of the Geology Panel of the Board of Civil Service Examiners from 1958-1965, and was on the Geologic Names Committee from 1962-1983.

Since retirement, Tom has stayed active as a Scientist Emeritus with the USGS and a Research Associate with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), and he continues to mentor students in brachiopod and biostratigraphic studies.

Tom is a foremost authority on late Paleozoic brachiopods and biostratigraphy. He has applied this knowledge in Alaska, throughout the western U.S.A., in the Appalachians, and, most recently, in East Asia and the western Pacific. Tom Dutro has participated in a number of international congresses and commissions whose purposes have been to establish worldwide stratigraphic standards for the Carboniferous and Permian systems. He has done extensive fieldwork throughout the world and has spent many summers of his career in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska providing ground truth for many geologic maps.

Among his more than 200 published papers are many beautiful examples of how systematic work in paleontology meshes seamlessly with and crucially informs the world of geology. His careful work is well known for its identification of new taxa and clarification of established genera and species; for the accompanying care he devotes to curation of collections, especially the brachiopods at the NMNH; and for his application of systematic paleontology to projects such as geological mapping, assessing the validity of exotic terranes, and correlation of economically important formations. As examples, Tom has been involved in paleobiogeographic syntheses using large early Carboniferous productoid brachiopods from the tectonic fragments in western North America, studies of Permian brachiopod faunas from northern Alaska, biostratigraphic syntheses of tectonic basins in 11 countries in east Asia from Japan in the north to Papua New Guinea in the south, regional geologic studies in Washington State, West Virginia, and the Ozarks, and analyses of Carboniferous brachiopods from northern Chile, northwest Argentina, and Peru.

During his 60+ year career, Tom has served as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Geological Institute, Associate Editor of the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, Chair of the Geological Society’s History of Science Division, President, and Executive Committee Member, of the Pacific Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Chair of the Earth Sciences Section, President of the Geological and Paleontological Societies of Washington, and President of the Association of Earth Science Editors.

Tom received the U.S. Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award in 1983 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1996. The J. Thomas Dutro, Jr. Award for Excellence in the Geosciences is presented annually by the Pacific Division of the AAAS to a student whose presentation is judged to be the most significant in the advancement or understanding of geosciences.

Tom’s long association with the Paleontological Research Institution began when he joined the PRI Board of Trustees in 1984. He served as President from 1992-1994. He and Nancy edited many of the recent numbers of the Bulletins of American Paleontology, the oldest continuously published journal for paleontology in North America. Tom is one of the PRI’s most passionate and generous supporters.

It is with great pleasure, honor, and esteem that the Paleontological Research Institution presents its 2007 Gilbert Harris Award to John Thomas Dutro, Jr.