Reaching Our Olympic-Size Goal

I enjoyed watching the recent Winter Olympics and all of the athletes from around the world. They really are quite amazing, and I love to watch the little nuances that make a champion.

I also am always amazed at the time differences between first and fourth place – sometimes it’s just the difference of a snap of a finger from the top of the podium to leaving without a medal.

I especially enjoyed watching the Canadians and Europeans in “curling.” I like the strategy – it’s like chess on ice.


For the past four years we have had an “Olympics” of our own called the AAPG Foundationfinancial campaign.

It started in 2005, when the AAPG Trustees agreed to initiate a fund-raising campaign to support many of the scientific and educational goals supported by AAPG. In addition there were many opportunities for support of new programs.

At the beginning of the “quiet phase” of the program the AAPG was provided an incredible undesignated lead gift from Austin and Marta Weeks of $10 million.

Larry Funkhouser and Jack Threet lead the financial campaign committee. Bill Fisher chairs the Foundation Trustees – John Amoruso, Bill Barrett, Marlan Downey, Jim Gibbs and Bill Gipson – who are a key part of leading this program.

As a result of the financial campaign the Foundation began to double the Weeks gift. At the end of the quiet phase, Boone Pickens agreed to provide a gift of up to $9.4 million.

These generous campaign gifts already are impacting our abilities to advance support in the geosciences through new initiatives, such as:

  • The Weeks Endowment, which has supported earth science educational programs for K-12 through university students to professionals.
  • The T. Boone Pickens Digital GIS Fund, which established a joint consortium for AAPG/Oklahoma State University Geoscience and Geographic Information Systems. This program has funded geoscience research plus numerous GIS projects.
  • The ;John Bookout K-12 Initiative, designed to provide earth science training at the Ellison Miles Geotechnology Institute for K-12 teachers. To date over 350 teachers have been trained.
  • The AAPG/Holland Award for Excellence at Hardin-Simmons University, which has provided high achieving faculty and annual fellowship for professional development and enrichment.

It should be noted that a significant amount of the donations have come from AAPG Trustee Associates. This is a very special group and we thank them for their dedication. Increasingly, we are receiving many donations from the broader section of AAPG members.

There will be numerous announcements at the annual meeting in New Orleans about the AAPG Foundation financial campaign. Currently, we have raised over $27 million.

Please join us at the opening session and the All-Convention Luncheon in New Orleans for announcements about the financial campaign.


Next year at the annual meeting in Houston we will hold our final fund-raising celebration. Our “Olympic size” goal is to raise $35 million by 2011.

As we move into the final phase of the program we are asking all AAPG members to consider donating to the AAPG Foundation. The AAPG Foundation staff stands ready to help you plan charitable giving including annuities and long term estate planning.

This is a great opportunity to extend the science and influence of your profession. It is a Herculean effort and we need everyone’s support.

Please join us as we Meet Challenges to Assure Success for the future.

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Director's Corner

Director's Corner - Rick Fritz
Richard D. “Rick” Fritz, an AAPG member since 1984 and a member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and the Division of Professional Affairs, served as AAPG Executive Director from 1999 to 2011.

The Director's Corner covers Association news and industry events from the worldview perspective of the AAPG Executive Director.

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