A New Policy on Obituaries and Resolutions of Respect

The Governing Board recently adopted a recommendation of the Historical Records Committee (HRC) to change ESA's policy on publishing tributes for deceased members in the Bulletin. Previously, the policy was to publish a Resolution of Respect upon the passing of ESA's primary elected officers, major award winners and others nominated by the HRC and approved by the President. A shorter Obituary was published for all others for whom such tributes were submitted. In the future, all members will be honored with a Resolution of Respect; obituaries will no longer be published.

There are various reasons for making this change. Obituaries published in newspapers and periodicals are now readily available on the internet and, unlike the Bulletin, they usually appear within days of a member's passing. Also, HRC members believe that this new policy will increase the amount of historically valuable information that is archived pertaining to the ecological contributions of the deceased member; and with the Bulletin now an online publication, page costs are less of a factor than before.

The new policy reads as follows:

  1. To honor its deceased members, and to chronicle and archive the history of ESA and ecology, it is the policy of ESA to publish in the Bulletin a Resolution of Respect that has been written and submitted by one or more colleagues of the deceased.

  2. A designated member of the Historical Records Committee shall solicit Resolutions of Respect when the passing of a member is brought to that person's attention. Individuals interested in writing a tribute for a colleague should contact the Bulletin editor or the chair of the Historical Records Committee.

  3. Unsolicited Resolutions of Respect may be published if they conform to the guidelines (or can be amended to do so). If a Resolution has already been solicited, the unsolicited submission cannot be published without the agreement of the person who previously had been asked to write the tribute.

  4. Authors shall submit their tributes to the designated member of the Historical Records Committee (see Bulletin web site), who shall verify that the guidelines have been followed, provide suggestions, and submit a final draft to the Bulletin editor.

Guidelines for Resolutions of Respect

  • The length should be no more than 2500 words and the heading shall have the following format: Resolution of Respect: (Name of deceased followed by, e.g., 1925–2010)

  • Name of author(s)

  • Essential Information

  • Full name

  • Complete dates of birth and death

  • Place(s) of birth and death

  • Educational history and primary mentors

  • Pertinent work history

  • Summary of contributions to ecological science

  • Role(s) in ESA (if any)

  • Desirable Information

  • Suitable photograph of the deceased

  • Early personal history

  • Family information, such as spouse or partner, children, perhaps parents (if influential in career choice, for example).

  • Anecdotal insights into personality and accomplishments

  • Foreign travel or service

  • Honors and awards—name, sponsor, date(s)

  • Other scientific and professional activities (society memberships, for example)

  • The names of students mentored by the deceased who continued their careers in ecology or related disciplines

  • Name and location of the archives where the deceased's historically valuable documents or other relevant information can be found

  • A list of selected publications

  • These guidelines will be posted on the web site of the Bulletin. If questions arise, contact the editor or the chair of the Historical Records Committee.