American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program SPECIAL UPDATE

USGS Director Eaton Stepping Down


This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies

In an e-mail to U.S. Geological Survey employees this morning, Director Gordon P. Eaton announced that he will be retiring on September 30th. His reasons for retirement focused on the Survey's relative stability and good budgetary health after four tumultuous years. He informed Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt last month of his plans to step down. His message does not name an acting director but indicates that an announcement would come soon. Possible candidates include Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science Mark Schaefer, USGS Associate Director Bonnie McGregor, and USGS Chief Hydrologist Bob Hirsch, who served as acting director prior to Eaton's arrival in 1993.

Eaton's message to staff focused on the many changes that took place during his tenure and emphasized the importance he assigned to obtaining input from USGS staff on the Survey's future directions. Some of the changes highlighted include:

Eaton began his career with the USGS in 1948. He became the Survey's twelfth director in 1993 after thirteen years away in a number of academic administrative posts, most recently as director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

The news of Eaton's resignation came as a surprise, although rumors that his departure was imminent have been swirling for some time. His message states that it is time for the Survey "to be led by folks from the next generation" and that he and his wife Ginny are ready to begin a "Puget Sound phase" of their lives. Having just returned from a visit to that area myself, I can certainly understand their reasons for wanting to get that phase underway and wish them both well.

Contributed by David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs

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Uploaded September 10, 1997

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