SSP Co-Founder Fred Spilhaus honored at Annual Meeting

During the Awards Luncheon at SSP’s 40th Annual Meeting, Barbara Meyers Ford, herself a co-founder of the organization, honored departed co-founder Fred Spilhaus.   The content of her remarks on May 31, 2018 are included below.

Fred Spilhaus was more than one of the founders, he was a silent supporter of SSP in more ways than many people knew or realized. Here are just a few:

  1. Fred never sought a governance position in the Society after serving as Secretary/Treasurer on the Pro Tem Board of Directors yet if anyone should have been President at some time it should have been Fred.
  2. From Annual Meeting #1 (Boston, 1979), Fred would piggyback SSP meeting site selections with the AGU’s events so that the Society would enjoy the same meeting rates as a much larger gathering. I think we would have had a much slower uptick in attendance without Fred working his negotiating magic.
  3. An extension of that magic was when SSP was slated to open the Crystal City Marriott. Just before it was time to send out the registration materials SSP was told that the hotel wasn’t going to be ready… and oh by the way, Marriott had released our backup space at another northern Virginia property. Judy Holoviak handled local arrangements that year and was responsible for the logistics. She appealed to Fred and he called his personal connection at the top level of the Marriott corporation to explain how this simply wouldn’t do. Don’t know whether the fact that Fred was on a first name basis with Bill Marriott had any bearing… but the Crystal City Hotel was given a “soft opening” just for SSP.
  4. Fred found room at AGU to house the SSP Headquarters charging no rent from the time our first Executive Director, Elizabeth (Liz) Fake, was hired. When the SSP seminar program grew to a certain level and needed more space than could be afforded elsewhere Fred once again stepped up and allowed the Society to hold numerous seminars in the meeting spaces at AGU headquarters. He didn’t charge SSP for the use of the AGU conference center or any equipment that AGU owned. In return, SSP offered free registrations, which were always kept to no more than two. Registrations were paid for any other AGU staff who attended. Holding seminars in such a convenient downtown Washington, DC location (close to the Dupont Circle Metro) most definitely contributed to the success of the programs.

These are just a few examples of how Fred Spilhaus was a strong but silent supporter of the Society for Scholarly Publishing from its inception throughout his time at the American Geophysical Union.  Many of us here celebrating the 40th anniversary of this organization which has influenced our lives so greatly owe a large silent nod of gratitude to Fred.

AND NOW I’d like to share a few personal words about this special milestone we are celebrating. I want to say that I am proud.

Proud to have been one among the 16 people whose commitment to communicating about innovations in publishing created this organization called the Society for Scholarly Publishing.

Proud to have been a part of its initial foundation-building decades and the opportunity to have worked with so many wonderful people across all areas of scholarly communication then and over the years.

Proud to have watched as each new governance team placed their bricks and mortar to continue the creation of an educational and continually expansive and inclusive place.

Proud to be able to say on the 40th anniversary of the Society for Scholarly Publishing how proud I know all the members of the Pro Tem Board would be if they were here with us today to see how SSP has grown and developed over these last 4 decades.

And proud to say to all of you who have contributed to its progress over the years and who with others will work to keep the Society going forward for another 40 years. A toast, to SSP 2058 and beyond!

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