Cody Thompson assessing hybridization in flying squirrels (Glaucomys) of the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, Mich., Sept. 2016. Pictured with a southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans).

Cody Thompson received the President's Special Award from the American Society of Mammalogists at their 2016 annual meeting in recognition of his outstanding service to the society. Thompson is collection manager of mammals in the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology and assistant research scientist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

The ASM president recognizes individuals who have shown particular dedication and service to the society. “With the support of ASM's other elected officers, I chose to make such an award to Cody in recognition of his tremendous efforts as chair of our program committee for the past few years,” said Eileen A. Lacey (U-M Ph.D. 1991), ASM president and professor of integrative biology, University of California Natural Reserve System. She is also the associate director and associate curator of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and the faculty director of the Hastings Natural History Reservation, UC NRS. During her days at UMMZ, she worked with Professors Richard Alexander and Philip Myers.

The ASM program committee secures a site and organizes the annual meeting, overseeing the budget, working with local vendors, planning symposia and workshops, and preparing the event program. Historically, the society has met on university campuses and responsibilities were shared with the host. 

A few years ago, ASM switched to holding meetings at convention centers where much of the organizing was done by the venue and professional conference center organizers rather than ASM members. This change was unpopular and this year ASM returned to campus settings. Thompson became program committee chair when the change was initiated and faced increased responsibility. “He has navigated us through this process admirably and, due in large part to his hard work, our return to a campus in June 2016 was a huge success,” said Lacey. 

“As program committee chair, Cody has worked tirelessly to make sure that all planning was covered and all logistics were taken care of. He has also provided a critical buffer between discordant groups or individuals on more than one occasion. In short, without his dedicated efforts, we could not have pulled off the return to a campus setting.”