The Stephen Duncan Heron Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes and promotes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Geology of North or South Carolina over a sustained period of time.
This individual has gone above and beyond in donating their time, as well as demonstrating and sharing their passion for the science of geology. This individual has positively affected, in a permanent nature, the distribution and knowledge of the geology of the Carolinas.

List of Recipients

(note: the award is not given annually, but only when a suitable nomination is made)

2015 – Stephen D. Heron (Duke University, emeritus).

Dr. Heron is the namesake for the CGS Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Heron was the second Secretary-Treasurer of the Society, serving in this position 43 years from 1966-2009. He is credited as being a stable steward of the Society through many changes in the profession over the decades. He is also the longest continuously active member of CGS, having joined the Society in 1951.

2018 – Robert “Bob” D. Hatcher (Univ. of Tennessee – Knoxville, emeritus).

Bob has been and remains a custodian for the history of geologic thought for the southern Appalachians. Bob’s career contributions to the understanding of the geology of the Carolinas and southern Appalachians is impressive and nearly unparalleled. Bob has lead more CGS trips than any other leader with six trips under his belt. He has been an active member since 1966 and missed very few meetings.

Learn more about Bob Hatcher’s contribution to the geology of the Carolinas

2019 – Donald “Don” T. Secor Jr., (University of South Carolina – Columbia, emeritus).

Don first served as CGS board president in 1965 and again in 1985. He led his first CGS field trip in 1968 and led trips in 1978, 1987, 1998, and 2015. His mapping work in the South Carolina Piedmont helped establish the stratigraphy of the Carolina terrane that has led to a modern understanding of the Alleghanian orogen in the Appalachian hinterland. In addition, his and his students’ mapping efforts led to direct fossil evidence that the Carolina terrane is exotic to North America.

Learn More about Don Secor’s contribution to the geology of the Carolinas


The Lifetime Achievement Award is the Carolina Geological Society’s most prestigious award given to an individual who has:

1) an established history of distinguished service;

2) made a lasting contribution to the geology of the Carolinas;

3) exhibited leadership and provided inspiration to others in the field of geology.

NOTE: Current CGS officers or members of the CGS Board of Directors are ineligible to be nominated for this award.

Nominees should have:

  • an active membership (either regular or lifetime) in the Carolina Geological Society.
  • earned recognition by other industry, training, education or other groups;
  • the respect of professional peers
  • general acknowledgement as having reached a pinnacle of their profession or industry
  • demonstrated, over an extended period of time, a contribution which has included either research, industry achievement, professional leadership and service to the geologic community
  • personal integrity.


CGS will solicit nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the time of the annual meeting, but nominations may be submitted at any time. Nominations must include a brief explanation of the individual’s contributions and qualifications considering the criteria. Nominations are submitted to the CGS Secretary-Treasurer email address ( no later than one month before the annual meeting.

The CGS President will appoint a nomination review committee who will review the nominations and vote for a winner. The winner will be honored during the next annual meeting of the membership. In addition to receiving the large award pictured above (or similar award), the recipient will receive an expense paid trip to the next annual meeting (inclusive of meeting registration, and guidebook expenses).

Preparing a Nomination

Section A: Overview

Provide a short overview of the person, their achievements and the reason for the nomination.

Section B: Criteria of Merit

Criterion 1: History of Service. The nominee’s history of service to the geology field – in particular, positions of leadership the nominee has held such as on boards or as chair of committees. Any other known history, such as participation on committees and workgroups, and any examples of the nominee at state or national meetings.

Criterion 2: Significant contribution and positive influence on the geologic understanding of the Carolinas. The nominee’s significant contribution(s) to the advancement of geology, and any awards or recognition from professional or industry groups and institutions. How will the nominee’s story inspire others to higher standards in their work or to raise the communities’ perception of the field of geology?

Criterion 3: Leadership Addressing the criteria. The nominee’s leadership in the field of geology, including, but not limited to, positively influencing policy or practice on a state, national or international level. This may include Government committees and workgroups, advocacy, senior positions, other training, mentoring or committee participation. How have they “made a difference” in some way?