DURHAM, N.C. – Nicholas School of the Environment alumnus Michael E. Field (MS ’69), emeritus geologist at the United States Geological Survey, has received the U.S. Department of the Interior’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.

The award recognizes Field for his outstanding scientific contributions to the study of coastal and marine geology and his exemplary leadership within the USGS and the scientific community. It was announced at a USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center awards ceremony in Santa Cruz, Calif., on June 19.

Field’s citations letter, signed by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on May 2, 2013, commends him for his “four-decade career as a geologist for the U.S. Government” performing “complex research that spans the globe from deep-sea fans to shallow coral reef environments.”

Nicholas School faculty members who have collaborated with Field or taught him when he was a masters student at the Department of Geology second Jewell’s high praise.

“Mike’s been a real leader in marine geology and geophysics, particularly in the study of continental margins,” says Lincoln F. Pratson, Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown and Sons Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences and chair of the Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

“As one of our first Master of Science graduates, Mike has distinguished himself and our school through his scientific contributions to marine geology and his administrative talents as chief of the USGS’ Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center from 1992 to 1992,” says Orrin  H. Pilkey, James B. Duke Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences. “He richly deserves this honor.”