The Waldo E. Smith Award is an award given biennially in even numbered years to a senior scientist in recognition of extraordinary service to Earth and space science. Successful candidates have strengthened and helped advance our scientific disciplines, as well as played unique leadership roles in scientific associations, education, legislation, research, management, philanthropy, or the public understanding of science.
Originally established in 1982 as the Waldo E. Smith Medal, it was reclassified as the Waldo E. Smith Award in 2012. Waldo E. Smith, a specialist in hydrology and civil engineering, became the first AGU Executive Secretary (and later, Executive Director) in 1944 and served in that capacity for 26 years. Under his leadership, AGU launched new scientific journals and Smith helped guide the careers of many young geophysicists. As Executive Director Emeritus, Smith became the first recipient of his namesake medal.