Thank you very much Niles, and thanks to the President, the Council, and the entire Society for this honor. Throughout the years I've been fortunate to have had opportunities to work with great colleagues and meet great friends, all while doing something that I love. A topic that has always fascinated me is tracing patterns in the history of life to gain insight into the processes of evolution. At a much more myopic scale, I can see how several events in the history of my own life shaped my development as a paleontologist. Many of these events involved intersections with...

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