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2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award: Dr. Ruth Shirey and Eddie Bright

At a special gathering on September 26, 2013 at the Hodges Library Auditorium on the UTK Campus, Dr. Ruth Shirey, (MS 1968, Ph.D., 1970) and Eddie Bright (BA 1980, MS 1982) were recognized as the Department’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni.

Ruth Shirey, who retired as a professor of geography at Indiana University of Pennsylvania after 37 years, recently received the Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors Award in Los Angeles at the Association of ’ annual meeting. The professor emerita of geography was recognized for her outstanding efforts in promoting
the discipline of geography in elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools.

Ruth served as the executive director of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) from 1988 to 2002 and as a state coordinator for the Pennsylvania Geographic Alliance for 14 years. She was also the project administrator for the National Geographic Standards Project and participated in the writing of the Pennsylvania state geographic standards. Through such efforts, she made substantial and lasting contributions to the field of geographic education, leading to her being honored with the Pennsylvania
Geographic Society Distinguished Service Award and the NCGE George J. Miller Award for Distinguished Service in 1996.

Her distinguished career was highlighted at the UTK ceremony by Dr. Carol Harden. During her remarks after accepting the award, Ruth noted the profound influences on her education and career by Drs. Robert Long and Loyal Durand.

Eddie Bright, of Oak Ridge National Laboratories, was recognized by Budhu Bhaduri at the Distinguished Alumni ceremony. Bhaduri leads the Geographic Information Science and Technology group within the Computing and Computational Sciences directorate at Oak Ridge.

Eddie is a Senior Research Scientist and leads the Population Distribution and Dynamics team. He is a remote sensing and GIS Specialist, with 30 years of experience in computational analysis, application programming, imagery analysis, data visualization, spatial modeling, and geographic information systems.

s LandScan Population Distribution Program. LandScan, a high-resolution global population distribution database, is the standard database used by the Department of Defense for estimating populations at risk. In addition, he is the developer of LandScan USA, a very highresolution population database for the U.S. including diurnal and demographic variations. Previously Eddie served as a principal contributor to the development s Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP).

Eddie began his remarks with the line…”I am an unrepentant geographer.” which played well to the partisan crowd. He remembered Drs. Ed Hammond, Sid Jumper and Ted Schmudde as major influences on his success in the program, but also singled out Dr. Jim Carter as the person that opened his eyes to and sparked his passion for computer mapping and data analysis.