Eligibility and Application


The James R. Anderson Medal of Honor is the highest distinction which the Applied Geography Specialty Group (AGSG) can bestow. The Medal is awarded by the AGSG Board of Directors in recognition of the most distinguished service to the profession of geography.

The AGSG Directors may bestow a Medal on individuals or organizations in recognition of notable contributions to the advancement of the profession through outstanding accomplishments in one or more areas of industry, government, literature, education, research, service to the profession, or public service. A Medal is so distinctive an honor that it is bestowed only if the accomplishments are truly outstanding.

The AGSG requires that the achievements of each nominee for the honor shall be fully documented by the nominator(s). The nominator(s) must demonstrate that the nominee's achievements have sufficient distinction to make them notable contributions to the advancement of the profession. It is emphasized that the Medal of Honor is not an award for the nominee's industry or personal success.


Any individual or organization engaged in the application of geographic principles is eligible to receive the Medal. A nominee must meet eligibility requirements in one or more of the following areas:

  • Achievement in Business, Industry or Government. Geographers and others in business, industry or government who have made efforts that are more outstanding than the routine of their position requires, have clearly raised the standards of professional performance, and have increased the recognition of professional competence for others, or who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the administration or professional affairs in their fields, with the result that these extra efforts have significantly elevated the practice of applied geography, may be considered as having made a notable contribution to the advancement of the profession.
  • Achievement in Literature. Geographers and others may make a notable contribution to the advancement of the profession by conveying to the public the meaning, purpose, and significance of applied geography. This contribution can be achieved through books, articles, videos, media presentations, Internet postings, and other means of expression which explain and interpret geography and allied disciplines in ways that enhance the general appreciation of accomplishments in these fields. The work presented in support of the nomination should be widely recognized among geographers as having had a significant impact on the practice of applied geography, and to have influenced others in the profession.
  • Achievement in Education. Many geographers render their principal service in education by teaching. Some are engaged in developing new methods of instruction, which will enable students and practitioners to incorporate new programs, methods, techniques, or technologies into the daily application of geographic principles. Others are bringing to students and practicing professionals an awareness of the contribution of geography and applied geography in particular to social, economic, environmental, and political developments. When these efforts are outstanding and have a lasting influence beyond the normal routines expected of the teaching process, they are worthy of recognition.
  • Achievement in Research. Many geographers are engaged in systematic, methodological, philosophical or empirical research, which advances the scope, purpose, direction, and application of geography. When the research is of such an outstanding character as to add significantly to existing subject matter knowledge bases, to provide new information or understanding in previously undiscovered fields, to add to the ways of conducting inquiries, or to have a large-scale impact on how research is conducted or research results are used in practice, it may be considered as making a notable contribution to the advancement of the profession.
  • Service to the Profession. Contributions by individuals or organizations to the methods and practices of geography, and the effectiveness of Applied Geography and its constituent organizations, constitute an important service to the profession. To be considered for Medal consideration such services should have been rendered so consistently, efficiently, and forcefully as to merit widespread recognition and provide new impetus to the progress of applied geography.
  • Public Service. Public service is a field in which the geographer, because of training and experience, may be of inestimable value to the community. Leadership in the wide spectrum of community affairs offers exceptional opportunities to the geographer to earn distinction. This effort should have been sustained over a substantial period of time, demonstrated the significance of geographic principles and applied geography practices in public affairs, gained more than usual recognition by co-workers, public officials and fellow citizens, and have clearly influenced the progress of the community.


Only members of the Applied Geography Specialty Group may make nominations for the Medal. The Board of Directors of Applied Geography shall establish an annual schedule for the nomination process, and shall appoint a Chair to the Anderson Medal Committee, to manage the nomination process. The Anderson Medal Chair shall not make nominations while serving in that role.

  • The nominator in consultation with the nominee shall write a one-page digest of the nominee's achievements. The purpose of the digest is to explicitly and succinctly justify the nomination. It is emphasized that the digest should briefly and lucidly identify the nominee's accomplishments that are most pertinent to establishing that an outstanding contribution has been made to the profession of geography.
  • A resume (CV) listing data pertinent to the criteria of the Anderson Medal nomination is required, and is not to exceed ten pages in length. It is emphasized that the materials in the resume should be limited to entries that attest to achievements in one or more of the areas of eligibility.
  • Letters of recommendation from individuals who have direct knowledge of the candidate’s record and the impacts of her/his achievements are required. A maximum of six letters should be sufficient.
  • A bibliography may be included in the portfolio. This listing may include articles, books, reports, maps, paper presentations, lectures, videos, etc. that are pertinent to a nomination for the Anderson Medal in Applied Geography.
  • A project bibliography may be included in the portfolio. This listing should include those projects in which the nominee played a significant role in their creation, production or administration. A one-paragraph summary, which briefly outlines the purpose of each project and the role played by the nominee, shall be included. Project photographic exhibits may be included.

NOMINATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY. Nominations must be submitted as a Word document or a PDF attachment via e-mail. Please send your entry to Dr. Jerry Dobson at dobson@ku.edu.


The due date of December 1 is set to allow the nominator(s) and nominee(s) as much time as possible to complete the nomination process. The file must be received on or before that date by the Chair of the Anderson Medal Committee, in order to allow sufficient time to complete the selection process prior to the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers.


The Medal shall be awarded by the following process:

  • Nomination portfolios received by December 1 are screened for compliance by the Jury of Review, which is appointed by the Board of Directors. The one-page digest of each nominee's achievements plus the Jury of Review's recommendations and comments is circulated to the AGSG board by the Chair, Anderson Medal Committee. The voting shall be by secret ballot under the direction of the Chair, Anderson Medal Committee. Candidates for the Anderson Medal who are also members of the AGSG board are excluded from the Anderson voting and selection process. The Medal will be awarded on the basis of a nominee receiving the votes of three-fourths of the members of the Board.
  • In the event of multiple candidates in a given year, and if no candidate receives three-fourths of the votes cast on the first ballot, the candidate receiving the least number of votes shall be eliminated and a second ballot taken.
  • If two candidates in a field of three or more receive the same lower number of votes, a runoff shall be held between the two to eliminate one of them.
  • A runoff of no more than two ballots shall be held between the last two candidates. If neither candidate receives a three-fourths vote, one or more ballots will be taken with the candidate receiving the higher number of votes being the only candidate considered. If that candidate does not achieve a three-fourths vote, no Medal shall be awarded that year.


The Medal recipient shall be announced at the AGSG Business Meeting and the Medal shall be presented at the Awards Luncheon during the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers.