2020 Distinguished Service Award Recipients include from left to right:  (Top row) Allan R. Wenck, Barbara B. Doonan, Dwight T. Tomes, John F. Finer, (Bottom row) Kan Wang, Sukhpreet Sandhu, Harold N. Trick, Brad L. Upham

One of the joys of the SIVB presidency is the ability to nominate individuals who have served the society in some special capacity for a distinguished service award. Normally these awards are presented at the opening awards ceremony. For 2020, the virtual meeting format meant that we could not make the normal presentations. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize them here.

Four of our Board of Directors rotated off the Board in 2020. Dwight Tomes served as Past President (2018-2020) but actually served for a total of six years (President Elect, President, and Past President). Harold Trick served as Board Secretary (2018-2020) which is a really demanding task to prepare the meeting minutes from the three Board meetings per year.  Two Members-at-Large, John Finer and Brad Upham, served from 2016-2020 and did an excellent job of guiding the society and representing their respective sections.

Sukhpreet Sandhu served as Vice President (2018-2020) and her leadership of the fund-raising efforts of the SIVB (Development Committee) was exceptional. This committee is responsible to solicit donations in support of our annual meeting. She will remain on the Board service as Secretary and so will continue her service to the SIVB.

The events surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic impacted almost all societies. The issues surrounding our annual meetings in San Diego were never really imagined at the end of 2019. Four members of the Board of Directors were tasked to become the Contingency Planning Committee to develop the society’s responses to the large number of issues that arose. The committee members were Barbara DoonanAllan WenckKan Wang, Dwight Tomes, Marietta Saunders (New Beginnings Management), and me. This committee worked closely with New Beginnings Management to make the move from an in-person meeting to a virtual one thus preserving our 2020 annual meeting and the society’s fiscal health. These awards go to Barbara, Allen, Kan, and Dwight. A very special thanks goes to Marietta and her staff who did the extensive and delicate negotiations with the Town and Country Hotel and other organizations.

Finally, the SIVB has a new code of ethics to cover both general expectations of its members (i.e., scientific integrity) and personal conduct at our annual meetings. Most societies are wrestling with these issues and trying to strike a proper balance of high expectations without being overly intrusive. The executive committee of the Board of Directors, Barbara Doonan, Allan Wenck, Dwight Tomes, and I were tasked with this project. Marietta had prepared a first draft which was compiled from the codes of a number of societies and this gave use a good place to start. The committee worked through a series of drafts to come to an acceptable text for the full Board to approve. This award goes to Barbara, Allan, and Dwight for their outstanding efforts and we owe a great vote of appreciation to Marietta for her help and guidance.

Respectfully yours,
John W. Harbell, Past President