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Camsell Medal

2004 Winners - Dr. Samuel Arseneault and Alexander T. Davidson

Dr. Samuel Arseneault

Camsell Award Citation - Samuel Arsenault From his home in Moncton, New Brunswick, Dr. Samuel Arseneault has dedicated a tremendous amount of time to furthering the goals of the Society and has provided an invaluable perspective from Atlantic Canada.

He joined the Society in 1995 and served as a Governor for two terms during a challenging period that included the new partnership agreement with Key Publishers. His work on three committees – Fellows, Lectures and the géographica Advisory Group – has been exemplary. He is recognized, most notably, for his work with the Lectures Committee, on which he has served since 1996. Thanks to his exceptional commitment, the Society managed to expand its Lectures program under tight financial circumstances.

In 1997, Samuel Arseneault began to organize lecture tours in Quebec and the Maritimes. He was instrumental in coordinating well-attended lectures by Bernard Voyer, Jacques Schroeder and Denis St-Onge. He tended to all the details, from booking venues to accompanying the speaker on tour and even promoting the event through the media. He volunteered weeks of his time to orchestrating five lecture tours, while ensuring that his responsibilities as a professor at Université de Moncton were also met.

Samuel Arseneault served on the Fellows Committee for seven years. He actively supported the Society’s goal of suitable representation for all regions of the country, proposing names of potential nominees from Atlantic Canada.

As an ardent supporter of producing a French-language magazine of similar quality to Canadian Geographic, Samuel Arseneault joined the géographica Advisory Group when it was formed in 1999 and continues to serve on the subcommittee today. He was one of a small group to conduct corporate fundraising for the magazine.

Samuel Arseneault’s selfless commitment to our programs reflects his passion for the Society. His strong organizational and interpersonal communication skills, as well as his useful contacts in university and community circles have ensured the success of the initiatives he has undertaken. On behalf of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, I am honoured to present to Dr. Samuel Arseneault the Camsell Award for outstanding service to the Society.

Arthur E. Collin, President, November 4, 2004

Alexander T. Davidson

Camsell Award Citation - Alex Davidson Over 29 years of commitment to The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Dr. Alex. Davidson played an essential part in the dramatic evolution of the Society and its magazine, from a small operation on the brink of folding to the dynamic and multi-faceted organization it is today.

Alex. Davidson joined the Editorial Advisory Committee in 1970, when Canadian Geographic was known as the Canadian Geographical Journal. He served as a member for five years and chaired the committee for the following eight. During his tenure, the magazine’s circulation grew from 22,000 to 100,000 in 1980. Fundamental changes were made, requiring considerable input from the committee: the hiring of David Maclellan, the first professional journalist to work as editor, and fundraising to redesign the magazine, improve the cartography, add colour photographs throughout and increase contributors’ fees.

Alex. Davidson was asked to join the Board of Directors (now Board of Governors) in 1974 and he remained a director for 19 years. He served as vice-president from 1978 to 1985, then was elected president in 1986, a position he held for seven years. Under his leadership, $500,000 was raised to implement improvements to the magazine and expand the Society’s educational programs. Among the many innovations: the Lectures program was extended across Canada, more research grants were awarded to university students and major grants were instituted, new ventures in co-publishing and documentary films were undertaken, the Mount Logan Expedition measured Canada’s highest mountain and an ambitious merchandise program was established to diversify the Society’s sources of income.

Alex. Davidson also lent his expertise to a number of committees, including Awards, Editorial Advisory, Fellows, Nominating and Policy and Planning. When Keith Fraser left as publisher and executive director in 1990, Alex. Davidson capably acted in the position until it was filled nearly a year later, ensuring that business went on as usual.

Alex. Davidson’s thoughtfulness, wisdom and patience were highly valued by his peers during his long association with the Society. He helped guide the RCGS through tumultuous times and played a pivotal role in its transformation from a modest organization to a truly national institution. On behalf of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, I am honoured to present to Dr. Alex. Davidson the Camsell Award for outstanding service to the Society.

Arthur E. Collin, President, November 4, 2004


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