(San Francisco) The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) announced today it has named Dr. Leo Connolly of the California State University, San Bernardino as the first recipient of the newly-created Richard H. Emmons Award for Excellence in College Astronomy Teaching.

“This new award celebrates outstanding and continuing achievement in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors,” said ASP Executive Director Michael Bennett “And the awards committee was unanimous in selecting Dr. Connolly from a nationwide group of very distinguished nominees.”

The award citation reads in part, “Dr. Leo Connolly has devoted his life to science education in astronomy and physics, as a teacher for over 32 years, an observatory director for 6 years, a fund raiser, writer, public speaker, and mentor to students and faculty at seven institutions of higher learning. He has concentrated on introductory courses for non-science majors, engaging thousands of students in astronomy over the years. In 1995, the International Astronomical Union recognized him by naming asteroid 1988 LC 6479 LEO CONNOLLY, a rare honor that is most befitting of his contributions to science education.”

A well-known public speaker, Dr. Connolly has delivered hundreds of presentations to amateur astronomy clubs, service clubs, and other groups. He has organized dozens of public sky-watching events of phenomena such as eclipses and meteor showers, bringing the excitement of observing the heavens to still more students and members of the general public.

The Emmons Award will be presented to Dr. Connolly at the ASP’s 2006 annual meeting and national conference on astronomy education in Baltimore, MD, on September 17.

The Richard H. Emmons Award was inspired by a very generous gift from Dr. Jeanne Bishop and her late husband Allan, in honor of her father Richard Emmons. A well-known Ohio astronomy educator in her own right, Dr. Bishop wished to honor her father—an astronomer with a life-long dedication to astronomy education—by creating an annual award that recognizes and celebrates outstanding achievement in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors.

Founded in 1889 in San Francisco, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific long ago outgrew its regional-sounding name to become one of the nation’s leading organizations devoted to improving people’s understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of astronomy and space. Serving research astronomers, educators of all descriptions, and amateur astronomers, the ASP publishes both scholarly and educational materials, conducts professional development programs for formal and informal educators, and holds conferences, symposia, and workshops for astronomers and educators who specialize in astronomy education and outreach. The ASP’s education programs are funded by its own members, corporations, private foundations, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. For more information about the ASP go to http://www.astrosociety.org

ASP Contact:

Mike Bennett
415-337-1100 ext. 111

A high resolution image of the award winner may be found at http://www.astrosociety.org/membership/awards/06winners.html#emmons