IUSSP 2020 Laureate Award Ceremony 

Zoom, 8 June 2020


The IUSSP honoured Emeritus Professor Gordon F de Jong of Pennsylvania State University with its 30th Laureate award on 8 June in a virtual online ceremony that brought together Gordon De Jong’s colleagues, former students, family, and IUSSP members from across the globe.  This award recognizes the lifetime achievements of outstanding IUSSP members through their contributions to the advancement of population sciences and their distinguished service rendered to the IUSSP and the world community of demographers.  



IUSSP President Tom LeGrand presided over the ceremony, which included presentations by colleagues and former students. Stephen Matthews covered Gordon's early biography before arriving at Penn State and then his post-retirement contributions. David Shapiro focused on Gordon's research contributions. Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue recounted his memories as a graduate student at Penn State of Gordon De Jong in the classroom, and Stephanie Bohon expressed her appreciation for Gordon as supervisor and mentor. He encouraged and supported his students to persevere with their research despite difficult circumstances.


To summarize Tom LeGrand’s introductory remarks, Gordon De Jong’s achievements are in four areas:


  • Training - One of Gordon De Jong’s most important accomplishments was his vision, dedication, and ability to create and carry through a unique interdisciplinary training program in Demography at Penn State. Penn State now has one of the top demographic training centers in the world, both in terms of its quality and its size. The program currently encompasses nearly 50 faculty members and is spread over ten academic departments. 


  • Research - Gordon is renowned both within the US and internationally for his publications on topics related to migration and immigration, social demography, population aging, and the demography of Pennsylvania. His work in the early 1980s on migration decision-making integrated into a single theory microeconomic and non-economic explanations that underlie migration, which continue to influence the field. 


  • Service to the demographic community  Over and beyond Gordon’s enormous contributions to institution-building at Penn State, he has generously given his time to committee work and other functions to the PAA, the IUSSP, the American and International Sociological associations, among others.  He has also worked as editor of Demography and as an assistant editor at other journals.


  • Role as a teacher, mentor, leader and colleague – Not the least in importance, is the enormous appreciation of Gordon expressed by his former students and colleagues.  He succeeded in finding funding for many of his students through training programs or research projects and his colleagues recognize the central importance of his leadership at Penn State.  He has generously helped many students and colleagues in various ways since arriving at Penn State 57 years ago.



Presentations were followed by additional speakers, who gave testimony to Gordon De Jong’s many accomplishments and contributions to the field and their success. Several have pursued academic careers passing on what they learned from the example set by Gordon De Jong to their students and colleagues. 


Over 100 people participated in the webinar joining in from as far away as the Philippines, likely far more than could have participated at the in-person ceremony initially planned for at the PAA annual meeting in Washington, DC in April.


The video of the full ceremony is available below. 



About the Laureate

Each year, the IUSSP honours one of its members by bestowing its Laureate Award.  As this is the most prestigious international award offered for outstanding accomplishments to the population field, the list of past recipients reads like the Who’s Who of world leaders in demography.  The Council encourages members to consider nominating exceptional colleagues for this award for upcoming years.


To be eligible for the Laureate, individuals must have been members of the IUSSP for at least ten years – a reason to maintain your membership! – and be nominated by at least five IUSSP members from different countries. The IUSSP Council then reviews the dossiers and testimonials of all the candidates received over the past four years and selects the recipient by secret ballot.


The IUSSP is in the process of developing a junior laureate award for exceptional young scholars from regions across the world – we hope to announce this new award in time for the December 2021 IPC in Hyderabad, India.