SBU News
SBU News > Newsroom > Press Release > Faculty/Student Awards > Meave Leakey Awarded Hubbard Medal, National Geographic Society’s Highest Honor

Meave Leakey Awarded Hubbard Medal, National Geographic Society’s Highest Honor

Photo two nainoa and maeve randall scott national geographic society

Meave Leakey Awarded Hubbard Medal, National Geographic Society’s Highest Honor


(Left to Right) Nainoa Thompson and Meave Leakey receive Hubbard Medals:  Photo taken by:  
Randall Scott/National Geographic Society
and provided by the 2016 National Geographic Explorer Awards

 STONY BROOK, NY–July 12, 2016–Stony Brook University’s Meave Leakey has received the 2016  Hubbard Medal, National Geographic’s oldest and most prestigious honor, presented for lifetime achievements in areas of scientific research, exploration, and conservation. Leakey, a world renowned paleoanthropologist, professor of Anthropology and Director of Field Research at Turkana Basin Institute, was recognized for redefining understanding of humankind’s early ancestors as well as the roots of bipedalism.

Dr. Meave Leakey:  Photo taken by:  Mike Hettwer and provided by the 2016 National Geographic Explorer Award

Our honorees are true leaders in research, conservation, and exploration,” said Gary E. Knell, president and chief executive officer of the National Geographic Society. “They are amazing individuals who have surprised us, inspired us and given us hope. We salute their efforts, and we are privileged to share their stories and experiences with our global audiences.”

 Dr. Leakey is a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, a research affiliate at the National Museums of Kenya, and co-director of the Koobi Fora Research Project (KFRP). Over five decades, she has helped uncover much of the evidence of human evolution. Assuming leadership of the KFRP project in 1989, Dr. Leakey and her team have made groundbreaking discoveries including 1994’s Australopithecus anamensis, a new species and the oldest known hominin to date; and Kenyanthropus platyops, a new hominin genus and species announced in 2001.

Dr. Leakey is one of fewer than 100 honorees who have been presented with the Hubbard Medal, and the fourth Leakey to be recognized. Her mother-and father-in-law, Louis and Mary Leakey won the award in 1962 and husband Richard Leakey was the recipient of the Medal in 1994.

In addition this year, Nainoa Thompson, President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, was also a Hubbard Medal recipient.

About Stony Brook University

Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. Since welcoming its first incoming class in 1957, the University has grown tremendously, now with more than 25,000 students and 2,500 faculty. Its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 100 universities in the nation and top 40 public universities, and Kiplinger names it one of the 35 best values in public colleges. One of four University Center campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, putting it in an elite group of universities that run federal research and development laboratories. A global ranking by U.S. News & World Report places Stony Brook in the top 1 percent of institutions worldwide.  It is one of only 10 universities nationwide recognized by the National Science Foundation for combining research with undergraduate education. As the largest single-site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook is a driving force of the regional economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs, and accounts for nearly 4 percent of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County.

# # #

Subscribe to News

Get the latest word on Stony Brook news, discoveries and people.


Get the latest word on Stony Brook news,
discoveries and people.