William Watt Hutchison, "Hutch" to his many friends around the world, was a Scots-born Canadian geologist who served Canada and the IUGS in myriad dynamic and creative ways. Most notably, he served as the IUGS Secretary General (1976-1980) at a pivotal time in its history, and as IUGS President (1984-1987). The same boundless energy, enthusiasm, skill in communications, and ability to foster teamwork that characterized his work with the IUGS also carried him to preeminent scientific administrative positions in the Canadian Government where he served as Director General of the Geological Survey of Canada and as Assistant Deputy Minister of Earth Sciences. His distinguished career was terminated in 1987 by his untimely death at the age of 52, following a painful struggle with cancer.
One of Hutch's last wishes was to establish under IUGS auspices a memorial foundation intended to promote the professional growth of deserving, meritorious young scientists from around the world by supporting their participation in important IUGS-sponsored conferences. The first 3 beneficiaries of the Hutchison "Young Scientist" Foundation attended the 28th International Geological Congress (IGC) in Washington, D.C., in 1989.
Initially, earned interest on the funds available to the Hutchison Foundation were insufficient to sustain comparable grants every four years without seriously eroding the principle. For that reason, the IUGS made no grants from the Foundation for the 30th IGC (1996), preferring instead to strengthen the fund by allowing it to earn interest for a longer period of time and by appealing for donations from the international geologic community. Grants from the Foundation again supported deserving young scientists beginning with the 31st IGC (2000) and will continue for future Congresses. The IUGS would like to expand the resources of the Foundation to make it possible also to offer support to deserving young scientists to attend other important IUGS sponsored scientific meetings.
The Hutchison "Young Scientist" Foundation is a worthy cause that honors a fine, caring man and a distinguished, public-spirited scientist and administrator. The foundation also celebrates and promotes those things that gave Hutch the most professional satisfaction: geology, international scientific collaboration, and stimulating young minds.
The IUGS welcomes contributions to the Hutchison "Young Scientist" Foundation. Please send donations to:
Hutchison's legacy is also commemorated by the W.W. Hutchison Medal of the Geological Association of Canada (GAC), which recognizes the achievements of outstanding young Canadian geoscientists and provides them with opportunities to present and discuss their research at major centers within Canada.
Photograph of W.W. Hutchison courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada.