The Distinguished Service to SSA Award

The Distinguished Service to SSA Award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the work of the Seismological Society of America. This award is presented at the annual meeting following the year of the award.

View the Recipients

Call for Nominations

Nomination Procedure

This award may be given to any person. Any member of SSA may nominate a candidate for this award. Nomination letters must be submitted to the Secretary of the Society on or before 15 February of each year. Please note that the principal nominator should integrate the nomination letters and send ONE nomination package to ensure that all letters of endorsement reach the decision makers on time. Questions may be directed to the chair of the SSA Honors Committee, Jessica Murray <>. Please list Distinguished Service award - Question as the subject line.

Nominations for all SSA awards are solicited from the members to be sent to the SSA Secretary, by the due date of 15 February. Electronic submissions should be e-mailed in .TXT, .PDF or .DOC files to <>. While electronic submissions are encouraged, hard copies may be mailed to:

Secretary, Seismological Society of America
℅ Nan Broadbent 
400 Evelyn Ave, Suite 201
Albany, CA 94706-1375
Fax: +1-510-525-7204

Recipients of the Distinguished Service to SSA Award

Susan Newman (2015)

Susan NewmanSSA Executive Director Susan Newman worked with and for the Seismological Society of America for 45 years making it one of the preeminent seismological institutions in the USA and the world. The success of our Society is in great measure due to Susan’s commitment to service; she was at the core of our advancement, working with us and for us, in ways that most of us could only imagine. From publications to membership to government relations to scientific meetings both in the U.S. and abroad, Susan was our leader, guiding us so that we could do and look our very best. During four and a half decades of service, the world  changed tremendously. Thanks to Susan’s dedication and foresight SSA has kept pace with these changes, thereby serving its members, science and society.

On the eve of her retirement, SSA  recognized Susan with the Distinguished Service Award to SSA, at the April 2015 Annual Meeting.

Andy Michael (2011)

Awards Lunch-Andy Michael-02_HeadshotAs editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA), Andrew J. Michael transformed the journal through innovative refinements in the submission and publication process and by modernizing its operations so that it will continue in the digital age as the premier seismology journal of record. For his service to the Seismological Society of America (SSA), Michael, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), was honored with the Distinguished Service to SSA Award at an April 17 ceremony in San Diego.

Michael was at the helm of BSSA at a critical time. He modernized the Bulletin's operations by leading the implementation of an online submission and peer review system that allowed the growth in the number of submissions each year. He led the move to make the online edition the journal of record, permitting the publication of color figures online with grayscale figures in print, and developed tutorials for authors, making the editorial process user-friendly and efficient.

Joe Litehiser (2008)

JoeLitehiserJoe J. Litehiser, who served as Secretary of the SSA from March 1987 to April 2007, the second longest tenure in an officer position in the organization's history, was presented with this award for Distinguished Service to the SSA at the Annual Meeting in Monterey, California in April 2009.

As Secretary, Litehiser used a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of the Society's by-laws to help 14 presidents guide the Society, and often offered practical compromises during lively debates at board meetings. During his tenure as secretary, Litehiser served on the Executive Committee and on the Budget Committee. Litehiser also helped usher SSA into the Internet age while serving on the Executive Committee.

Michael Fehler (2007)

mikefehlerMichael Fehler was selected because his contributions were "numerous and important, ranging from BSSA Editor, to SSA president, to distinguished scientist. Mike brings passion, grace, and attention to detail to his work, which shows in his many successes, and which has also been an inspiration to others." Mike took on the work of Editor of BSSA in June 1995, a position he held for more than 8 years. During that time, he expanded the pool of Associate Editors to reduce their workload and expedite their handling of manuscripts. He also recruited AE's in different disciplines to tap additional expertise and encourage submittals from a broader topical range of research. During Mike's editorship, BSSA published several special issues including Site Effects on PSHA, the 1999 Chichi Earthquake, the 1999 Izmit Earthquake, the 1999 Hector Mine Earthquake, Paleoseismology of the San Andreas Fault, and the 2002 Denali Earthquake.

Wilbur (Bill) Rinehart (2006)

photo_BillReinhartBill Rinehart was selected by the Board at the 2006 Annual Meeting to receive the award for Distinguished Service to the SSA, in thanks for his extraordinary efforts to document and preserve the Society's history during our Centennial Year. Bill was honored at the luncheon of the 2007 Annual Meeting.

John Ebel (2003)

photo_ebelJohn Ebel was selected by the Board at the 2003 Annual Meeting to be the first recipient of the Distinguished Service to the SSA Award, in thanks for his long and capable editorship of SRL from 1995, when the society took over publication of the journal, until the end of 2001. John was honored at the Luncheon of the 2004 Annual Meeting.