RICHARDSON , Texas (Aug. 16, 2005) – Dr. Brian J. L. Berry, dean of the School of Social Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), has been named the 2005 recipient of the Vautrin Lud Prize, the highest award that can be bestowed on a geographer. Berry will receive the award at a ceremony on Sept. 29 at the International Festival of Geography in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France.
The prize, which was created in 1991 and is officially known by its French name Lauréat Prix International de Géographie Vautrin Lud, is awarded each autumn to an intellectual leader in the field, as determined by a five-person international jury.
The award is modeled after the Nobel Prize, which does not have a category for geography. Vautrin Lud was a French scholar who was instrumental in naming America for the Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci, whose account of landing on the North American continent found its way to a group of Saint-Dié-des-Vosges scholars directed by Lud. In 1507, the group used Vespucci’s accounts to publish one of the earliest geographical treatises regarding the New World.
“When I arrived on the UTD campus several months ago, it quickly became evident to me that this community of scholars embraces quality, with a top-notch faculty that includes Nobel laureates, members of the National Academies and researchers making important advances in new and exciting fields,” said university President Dr. David E. Daniel. “Brian Berry is an integral part of this culture of quality, as evidenced by his being accorded the top distinction in his field, the Vautrin Lud Prize. We salute him for this latest achievement, which demonstrates the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow geographers around the globe.”
Berry is one of the world’s leading social scientists, widely acclaimed for his work with spatial analysis and urban theory. He is credited with helping transform geography as a discipline, elevating it to a respected and competitive science. Due to the groundbreaking nature of his work, Berry was ranked as the world’s most frequently cited geographer for more than a quarter century.
Berry is the Lloyd V. Berkner Regental Professor in UTD’s School of Social Sciences and a long-time leader of the university’s political economy program. On July 1, he became dean of the school, which has 60 faculty members and more than 1,300 students and which offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a broad range of fields, including crime and justice studies, economics and finance, geospatial science, political science, public administration, public policy and sociology.
Berry became a faculty member at UTD in 1986, after holding faculty and administrative positions at Carnegie Mellon University (where he also served as a dean), Harvard University and the University of Chicago. He helped found and was the first director of UTD’s Bruton Center for Development Studies.
Among the many awards and other forms of recognition Berry has received for his work are the Victoria Medal bestowed by Britain’s Royal Geographical Society in 1988 and his election as a Fellow in the British Academy in 1989. In 1975, he became the youngest social scientist ever elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious scientific association in the United States, and in 1999 he became the first geographer elected to the academy’s council.
A native of England, Berry earned a B.Sc. degree in economics from University College, London. He received a M.A. degree and a Ph.D. degree, both in geography, from the University of Washington, Seattle.
He is the author of more than 500 books, articles and other professional publications.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.