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, Peter Shearer <>. 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

Keith Knudsen (2017)

Keith Knudsen of the U.S. Geological Survey is recognized for his nine years of service as Secretary for SSA. In their nomination of Knudsen for the award, five past presidents of SSA commended him for his advice on multiple issues related to SSA operations and for his work in a demanding role for the Society, carried out from 2007 to 2016.

In particular, Knudsen was recognized for his work in reviewing and updating the SSA Bylaws and Board Policy manual, his role as chair of the Management Committee in instituting a more formal annual review of the Society's Executive Director and in serving as a member of the 2015 Executive Director Search Committee, and his role in developing a new strategic plan for SSA in 2012.

As Secretary, Knudsen was tasked with reporting the actions of the SSA Executive Committee to the SSA Board and representing the Executive Committee to the Budget and Headquarters Management Committees. He also worked with the Executive Director and legal counsel to ensure compliance with the Society's bylaws and policies.

Knudsen has been the Deputy Director of the Earthquake Science Center at the U.S. Geological Survey at Menlo Park since 2011. He graduated with a B.A. in geology from Carleton College in 1983 and received his M.S. in environmental systems/ geology in 1989 from Humboldt State University. He continues to serve as a member of the SSA Government Relations Committee.

When informed of his receipt of this award, Knudsen said, "I'm delighted to be recognized in this way. I very much value the time I spent serving as SSA's Secretary, and hope to maintain the relationships I formed with so many others involved in the leadership of SSA. I learned a great deal from my colleagues in this volunteer role, and I encourage others to consider volunteering for other roles with SSA."

Diane I. Doser (2016)

Diane Doser

Diane I. Doser is recognized for her two decades of outstanding dedication and leadership of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA).

Doser is the director of the Kidd Memorial Seismic Observatory and professor in the department of geological sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso. She served as BSSA Associate Editor from 1996 to 2010, becoming Editor-in-Chief of the journal in 2010. She will complete her service with BSSA in June 2016.

As Editor-in-Chief, Doser appoints and manages a 27-member international board of associate editors through 350 yearly submissions to the journal, and oversees the production of the 110-year-old journal's online and print editions.

"I am greatly honored to receive the 2016 Distinguished Service to SSA Award. The Seismological Society of America was the first professional society I joined as a student. I have always felt a strong affiliation with the Society and its focus on understanding earthquakes to benefit humankind," Doser said. "Serving as editor-in-chief of the Bulletin for nearly six years has been a wonderful opportunity for me to help advance the Society's purpose and values. I am grateful to all the associate editors, reviewers and staff who have helped me to insure the Bulletin remains the premier journal of earthquake related research."

In their letter nominating Doser for the award, past SSA president Ruth Harris and President-elect Andrew Michael commended Doser's high scientific standards as BSSA editor."It is through service to the Society, as exemplified by the dedication of Diane to our journal, that we are able to achieve publication longevity and excellence," they wrote.

During her tenure, Doser helped initiate and produce two special print issues of BSSA, on the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, published in May 2013, and the 2012 Haida Gwaii and 2013 Craig earthquakes, published in May 2015. She also led the publication of two "virtual" online special issues of collections of previously published papers: a January 2014 publication of articles to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and a collection published in April 2015 of BSSA articles on the seismology of the region surrounding the 2015 Gorhka earthquake in Nepal. The second collection was quickly assembled to give researchers easier access to published science from the region in the wake of the Nepal quake.

As another service to SSA members, in December 2013 Doser led BSSA's implementation of Publish-Ahead-of-Print (PAP) arrangements, to publish journal articles online after completion of the production process but before the full issue of the journal is compiled.

Doser graduated with a B.S. in applied geophysics from Michigan Technological University in 1978, and received her M.S. (1980) and Ph.D. (1984) in geophysics from the University of Utah. Her current research centers on studies of earthquakes in south-central, southeast and interior Alaska, helping to produce seismic hazard maps for the Alaska region, as well as the application of geophysical techniques to environmental and engineering issues related to watershed studies and saline and freshwater aquifers.

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.