Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Remembering M. Lee Allison: one year later

Lee Allison examining a diversion ditch, Flagstaff, AZ. 

A year ago today Lee Allison, Director of the Arizona Geological Survey and State Geologist, passed away 3 days after suffering a tragic accident at his home. We cannot adequately express the scope of this tremendous loss to the AZGS and staff members. Lee was unique and irreplaceable, a dynamo who was primarily responsible for the survival and growth of the AZGS during the 10+ years when he was Director. For Lee, challenges were opportunities to do more, and obstacles never stopped him from going forward. The AZGS became involved in areas of research and outreach that we never would have imagined before his arrival, and the profile of the AZGS was raised within Arizona, nationally, and internationally.

Fortunately for us who have had to carry on without him, the legacy of Lee’s dynamic tenure as Director was incredibly influential as the state legislature considered re-establishing a state appropriation for the AZGS this past spring. It was much easier to explain the critical value the AZGS provides to the State of Arizona because of the work we completed under Lee’s leadership, addressing many different aspects of geology and its impact on society and commerce. Lee truly viewed geology as underpinning modern society, and he never passed up an opportunity to make that argument in public forums. (Photo by A. Youberg, 8/25/2010)

Phil Pearthree
AZGS Director & State Geologist

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