Who's Who Top Educators

Steven Mitchell Stanley, PhD

Steven Stanley

Title: Paleontologist, Professor
Company: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States

Steven Mitchell Stanley, Paleontologist and Professor at Florida State University and research associate at the Smithsonian Institution, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in paleontology and education.

Growing up, Dr. Stanley loved to collect rocks and minerals. He began an in-depth study of the geological history of the Chagrin River Valley where he lived when he was in high school, and learned about the mills that had existed in his town and the hydrology of rivers and streams. A professor who taught the introductory biology course at Princeton University excited Dr. Stanley about organic evolution. At the same time, he took a paleontology course that brought fossils to life; he had previously thought them boring. He was hooked. Dr. Stanley proceeded to obtain an AB, summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1963 and a PhD from Yale University in 1968.

Dr. Stanley’s first position in the field was assistant professor at the University of Rochester in 1967. He left in 1969 to join Johns Hopkins University, first as an assistant professor of paleobiology and then as an associate professor, professor, and chair of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. He also founded and was made chair of the Master of Science program in environmental sciences and policy. Between 2005 and 2019, Dr. Stanley has served as a research professor at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. He is now a research professor at Florida State University and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. He has conducted research in many areas but is best known for his empirical and theoretical contributions supporting the punctuational model of evolution and for his demonstration that changes in seawater chemistry have governed what forms of marine life have been the primary builders of reefs and producers of sediment that has become limestone. His research has elevated him to the top of his community.

The highlight of Dr. Stanley’s career thus far was publishing “Macroevolution: Pattern and Process” in 1979. The book had a big impact on biology, and is still cited about 40 times a year. He is also proud to have authored “Earth System History,” “Children of the Ice Age: How a Global Catastrophe Allowed Humans to Evolve,” “The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species,” and “Principles of Paleontology,” among others. His findings have made him an influential voice in his professional community.

In his community, Dr. Stanley has served as president of the American Geosciences Institute. He is also a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and a member of prominent organizations such as the Society for Sedimentary Geology, the Paleontological Research Institution, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Geophysical Union. Other previous positions held by Dr. Stanley include councilor of The Geological Society of America; junior councilor, senior councilor, and president of The Paleontological Society; and advisory committee member for earth sciences at the National Science Foundation. For the National Research Council, he has been vice chair of the Board on Earth Sciences and served on the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and on the Commission on Geosciences, Environment & Resources. For many years he has served as an editorial board member of the American Journal of Science.

As a testament to his success, Dr. Stanley was honored with the Penrose Medal, the highest award of the Geological Society of America, in 2013; the Twenhofel Medal of the Society for Sedimentary Geology in 2008; the Mary Clark Thompson Medal of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006; and the James H. Shea Award of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers in 2004. Other notable accolades include the Bownocker Medal of The Ohio State University, the Outstanding Technology Paper Award of the Washington Geological Society, a Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Charles Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society, the Allan C. Davis Medal of the Maryland Academy of Sciences, and the Outstanding Paper Award of the Journal of Paleontology. The International Association of Top Professionals named him Top Research professor of 2019. His achievements have been featured in numerous editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in the West, and Who’s Who in the World.

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University of Hawaii at Manoa


Press Release

Lifetime Achievement

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