Mr. President, friends, and colleagues, I am very grateful and proud to be this year’s recipient of the Mineralogical Society of America’s Public Service Medal.

When learning of the award I could not help but think back to 1984 when I was contemplating a job offer from the Smithsonian, only hesitating even slightly because I had always pictured myself in an academic position. I really wanted to teach and it wasn’t obvious to me then that there was much opportunity to do that at the Smithsonian. During a phone conversation, however, with Tom Simkin and Dan Appleman, both in the...

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