2004 Winners - Dr. Samuel Arseneault and Alexander T. Davidson
Dr. Samuel Arseneault
his home in Moncton, New Brunswick, Dr. Samuel Arseneault has dedicated
a tremendous amount of time to furthering the goals of the Society and has provided an invaluable
perspective from Atlantic Canada.
He joined the Society in 1995 and served as a Governor for two terms during a challenging
period that included the new partnership agreement with Key Publishers. His work on three
committees – Fellows, Lectures and the géographica Advisory Group – has
been exemplary. He is recognized, most notably, for his work with the Lectures Committee,
on which he has served since 1996. Thanks to his exceptional commitment, the Society managed
to expand its Lectures program under tight financial
In 1997, Samuel Arseneault began to organize lecture tours in Quebec and the Maritimes.
He was instrumental in coordinating well-attended lectures
by Bernard Voyer, Jacques Schroeder and Denis St-Onge. He tended to all the details,
from booking venues to accompanying the speaker on tour and even promoting the event through
the media. He volunteered weeks of his time to orchestrating five lecture tours, while ensuring
that his responsibilities as a professor at Université de Moncton were also met.
Samuel Arseneault served on the Fellows Committee for seven years. He actively supported
the Society’s goal of suitable representation for all regions of the country, proposing
names of potential nominees from Atlantic Canada.
As an ardent supporter of producing a French-language magazine of similar quality to Canadian
Geographic, Samuel Arseneault joined the géographica Advisory
Group when it was formed in 1999 and continues to serve on the subcommittee today. He
was one of a small group to conduct corporate fundraising for the magazine.
Samuel Arseneault’s selfless commitment to our programs reflects his passion for the
Society. His strong organizational and interpersonal communication skills, as well as his
useful contacts in university and community circles have ensured the success of the initiatives
he has undertaken. On behalf of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, I am honoured to
present to Dr. Samuel Arseneault the Camsell Award for outstanding service to the Society.
— Arthur E. Collin, President, November 4, 2004
Alexander T. Davidson
29 years of commitment to The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Dr. Alex. Davidson played
an essential part in the dramatic evolution of the Society and its magazine, from a small
operation on the brink of folding to the dynamic and multi-faceted organization it is today.
Alex. Davidson joined the Editorial Advisory Committee in 1970, when Canadian Geographic was
known as the Canadian Geographical Journal. He served as a member for five years and chaired
the committee for the following eight. During his tenure, the magazine’s circulation
grew from 22,000 to 100,000 in 1980. Fundamental changes were made, requiring considerable
input from the committee: the hiring of David Maclellan, the first professional journalist
to work as editor, and fundraising to redesign the magazine, improve the cartography, add
colour photographs throughout and increase contributors’ fees.
Alex. Davidson was asked to join the Board of Directors (now Board of Governors) in 1974
and he remained a director for 19 years. He served as vice-president from 1978 to 1985, then
was elected president in 1986, a position he held for seven years. Under his leadership,
$500,000 was raised to implement improvements to the magazine and expand the Society’s
educational programs. Among the many innovations: the Lectures
program was extended across Canada, more research grants were awarded to university students
and major grants were instituted, new ventures in co-publishing and documentary films were
undertaken, the Mount Logan Expedition measured Canada’s highest mountain and an ambitious
merchandise program was established to diversify the Society’s sources of income.
Alex. Davidson also lent his expertise to a number of committees, including Awards, Editorial
Advisory, Fellows, Nominating and Policy and Planning. When Keith Fraser left as publisher
and executive director in 1990, Alex. Davidson capably acted in the position until it was
filled nearly a year later, ensuring that business went on as usual.
Alex. Davidson’s thoughtfulness, wisdom and patience were highly valued by his peers
during his long association with the Society. He helped guide the RCGS through tumultuous
times and played a pivotal role in its transformation from a modest organization to a truly
national institution. On behalf of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, I am honoured
to present to Dr. Alex. Davidson the Camsell Award for outstanding service to the Society.
— Arthur E. Collin, President, November 4, 2004