This award honors individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve geoscience. Honorees personify Unidata's ideal of a community that shares ideas, data, and software through computing and networking technologies.

Since its inception in June 1983, the Unidata Program has benefited from the commitment of a number of individuals. This award is named after Russell L. DeSouza, whose involvement with and contributions to Unidata were exemplary. The recipient of the award is selected by the Unidata Users Committee. Nominations are typically solicited the beginning of each year, and the recipient makes a presentation to the Unidata community during the spring Unidata Users Committee meeting in the spring. Community nominations are sent to nominations with a short description of the candidate's contribution to the community.

Russell L. DeSouza
1944 - 1997

DeSouza first became actively involved with the Unidata Program in 1989 as a member of the Unidata Users Committee. He quickly demonstrated his hallmark concern for finding approaches and technologies that worked for educating students. In 1990, he was asked to be a member of the Unidata Policy Committee, where he played a critical role representing the interests and concerns of "small" colleges and universities and helping the committee to maintain a "whole picture" view of the Unidata community. He was the committee's liaison to the Users Committee, so was a participant in all Users Committee activities as well. In 1991, he volunteered Millersville to maintain the educational floater channel (part of the Unidata/Wisconsin data stream), an effort that, in 1994, was expanded to include a channel for NEXRAD Information Dissemination Service data as well.

DeSouza resigned from the Unidata Policy Committee in the summer of 1995 to concentrate on his treatment for malignant melanoma. He retired officially from the Millersville faculty on May 17, 1997, and died on June 6, 1997.