News Archive

Farewell Message from President Geraldine Richmond

June 24, 2020

Geraldine Richmond at Podium

Geraldine Richmond will complete her one-year term as Sigma Xi president at the close of Fiscal Year 2020 on June 30. She will remain on the Board of Directors as past president during Fiscal Year 2021. 

In my farewell message as president to Sigma Xi’s members, affiliates, and explorers, I want to say how honored I have been to serve you and also how proud I am of how the organization is continuing on its upward trajectory.
And what a year this has been! I first must express my gratitude for all of those in the Society who work so hard to make our efforts impactful. From those faculty and researchers who devote a tremendous amount of their time to serving their chapters, mentoring their students, and nominating new members, to the devoted staff at Sigma Xi headquarters that work tirelessly to keep the organization humming. And, of course, our fearless leaders, Executive Director and CEO Jamie Vernon and American Scientist  Editor-in-Chief Fenella Saunders. I also want to give a shout-out to Sigma Xi’s Board members and all the volunteers who serve on our committees.  

One of the highlights of my year was our Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference in Madison, which had the theme of Our Changing Global Environment.The relatively high attendance showed how much interest there is in this topic. Those that came witnessed many fantastic speakers and networked with students and researchers from around the country. Meeting attendees and members of the Madison community participated in our inaugural STEM Art and Film Festival, which was an amazing success.   

During my year, I have also had the pleasure of being involved in launching two new initiatives that will make Sigma Xi a much stronger institution. The first is a project to develop and implement programs to increase the diversity and inclusiveness of our organization and chapters. Recent events remind us all of how important such efforts are for STEM and the world. The second is our work on another timely topic: scientific professional conduct and professional ethics. You will learn more about these two efforts in the coming months.

Although I am sad to have my year as president come to an end, I am so incredibly excited to pass the gavel on to Sonya Smith. Over the past months in working with her on various projects, I have come to admire her leadership skills and the comradery that comes with our shared passions for science and our desire to help Sigma Xi in any way that we can. And what an incredible Annual Meeting she has planned with a theme of Hacking the Brain: The Intersection of Art and Neuroscience. You don’t want to miss this one! And you don’t even have to worry about finding travel support or lodging as it will all be virtual. What a deal!

And finally, I would be remiss in not noting the impact and life altering changes that have happened in our lives with the onset and continuing tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sigma Xi is not exempt from the impact. Fortunately, the staff and CEO have risen to the occasion by immediately transitioning to remote work, taking many events online, including the 2020 Annual Meeting, and working diligently to keep Sigma Xi financially afloat. As president, I couldn’t be more proud!  

Although there will be many unforeseen challenges ahead, there is much work to be done to ensure the health and vitality of Sigma Xi and all of its members as we go forward. It is up to all of us to play a role, in whatever way we can, to ensure that we get through this and come out stronger on the other side. I look forward to supporting Sigma Xi in this challenging journey in whatever way that I can as past president and a member.

Best wishes and take care,

Geraldine Richmond signature

Geraldine Richmond
Sigma Xi Fiscal Year 2020 President