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Future/Past Meetings SVP 67th Annual Meeting Summary

Oct. 17-20, 2007
Austin, Texas

67th Annual Meeting attendess l-r: Jessica Theodor, Chris Bell,
Michael Benton, Catherine Badgeley, Jeremy Hooker and Rebecca
Hunt. Photo courtesy of SVP.

More than 1,150 SVP members and enthusiasts attended the SVP 67th Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. The Host Committee — chaired by Chris Bell, and including Arthur Busbey, Brenda Chinnery-Allgeier, Eric Ekdale, Christian George, Chris Jass, Tom Lehman, Ernie Lundelius, Lyndon Murray, Tim Rowe and Martin Sander — put on a fine meeting that broke all kinds of records, Texas style (view the circular). Thanks are due for all the planning, coordinating and scheduling behind the scenes.

The Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin initiated the record-breaking precedents with two large donations to SVP well in advance of the meeting — one to support student travel grants to the Austin meeting and the other to enlarge the funding base for student travel grants well into the future. We are hugely grateful for this generosity and thank Eric Barron, dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences, and Chris Bell and Tim Rowe for the concept and the accomplishment.

The scientific sessions, distilled from the highest-ever number of submitted abstracts, included four fine symposia, four poster sessions, and concurrent sessions of talks for four solid days (view abstracts). Pre- and post-meeting field trips highlighted some of the outstanding vertebrate paleontology of Texas. For bat enthusiasts, a trip to Bracken Cave, home to 30 million Mexican free-tailed bats, led by Merlin Tuttle, president and founder of Bat Conservation International (based in Austin), was organized in association with the bat symposium.

Distinguished visitors included Dr. Eric Barron, dean of the Jackson School and a well known climate scientist, who gave the opening plenary address on the first day of the meeting. Also, former Speaker of the House (U.S. Congress) Newt Gingrich, hosted by the Jackson School, gave a talk over the lunch hour on the second day; his talk focused on the relevance of paleontology to society and especially to the education of young people.

Social events included the welcome reception at Buffalo Billiards, the student roundtable and reprint exchange, the auction, the awards banquet (view a complete list of all award winners) and after-hours party. These events overflowed with enthusiastic paleontologists. This year’s auction had, in addition to the usual donations from individuals, museums, and businesses, a large portion of Joe Gregory’s scientific library. Auction proceeds broke all previous records, with over $28,418.57 in proceeds. This year’s auctioneer theme was pirates!

The 2007 Auction Committee. Photo courtesy of SVP.
President Catherine Badgley presided over the annual business meeting, which reviewed the work of SVP organizing committees over the year and gave a glimpse of the highlights in store for SVP at the 2008 annual meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, and the 2009 annual meeting in Bristol, England. Bill Clemens, chair of the Development Committee, announced the first SVP-sponsored field conference in planning for August 2008 in the Hannah Basin of Wyoming. Jay Lillegraven and friends are in charge.

The Awards Banquet wrapped up the four full days with a host of awards for fine presentations and research projects. The distinguished honorary senior awardees gave moving testimonies about their lives as vertebrate paleontologists to thunderous applause from an appreciative audience.

Finally, another first in Austin — a film crew, from Shade Tree Studios in Dallas, Texas was present throughout the meeting to film interviews, selected SVP activities, and the Big Bend field trip.

The resulting footage will contribute to short promotional films about SVP for educational and fundraising purposes and to the SVP archive. Thanks go to Shade Tree Studios for donating this crew to SVP and to Lou Taylor, Louis Jacobs and Steven Cohen for coordinating the filming schedule.

The high energy and record attendance at the Austin meeting resulted from the work of several groups that we cannot thank enough — the Host Committee, the Program Committee, the SVP Business Office and the Executive Committee. Thanks to all for a terrific meeting.

View photos from the meeting!