Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize

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Clarke Prize Medallion

The Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize, or “Clarke Prize”, is awarded annually by the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) of Fountain Valley, California. It consists of a medallion and $50,000 award for demonstrated excellence in the fields of water science and technology. It recognizes the highest contributions by an individual engaged in the discovery, development, improvement, or understanding of the issues associated with water quality, quantity, technology, or public policy.

Nominations and selection[edit]

The Clarke Prize was established by NWRI in 1993 in honor of the late Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke, co-founder of NWRI. The Prize was established in collaboration with Joan Irvine Smith, co-founder of NWRI and the daughter of Mrs. Clarke.

Clarke Prize Laureates are active researchers and/or practitioners who demonstrate excellence through their continuous contributions to the body of knowledge related to protecting, maintaining, treating, and reclaiming water resources. The Clarke Prize is one of only a dozen water prizes awarded worldwide and has been distinguished by the International Congress of Distinguished Awards as one of the most prestigious awards in the world.[1]

Nominations for the Clarke Prize, as well as related credentials and letters of recommendation, must be received by April 1 of each year. The Clarke Prize recipient is selected by the Clarke Prize Executive Committee.

Lecture and award ceremony[edit]

The Clarke Prize is awarded annually at the Clarke Prize Lecture and Award Ceremony. The black tie dinner includes a presentation of the medallion and the award of the $50,000 prize by members of the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation. As part of the award ceremony, the recipient presents the annual Clarke Prize Lecture, which gives the recipient an opportunity to promote his or her area of expertise and to educate the audience on its importance and impact in the field of water research and technology.

List of Clarke Prize laureates[edit]

Date Recipient
2016 Mark Sobsey Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Lecture:Innovations to Achieve Microbiologically Safe and Sustainable Water by Treatment Processes and Detection Methods
2015 John C. Crittenden Ph.D., P.E., N.A.E, C.A.E., Georgia Institute of Technology
Lecture: Water for Everything and the Transformative Technologies to Improve Water Sustainability
2014 David L. Sedlak, Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor at the University of California, Berkeley
Lecture: Delivering the Fourth Water Revolution
2013 R. Rhodes Trussell, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, NAE, civil and environmental engineer

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Trussell Technologies, Inc., based in Pasadena, California.
Lecture: How Safe is Safe in the Treatment of Drinking Water for the Public

2012 Pedro J.J. Alvarez, Ph.D., P.E., DEE, environmental engineer

George R. Brown Professor of Engineering at Rice University.
Lecture: Convergence of Nanotechnology and Microbiology: Emerging Opportunities for Water Disinfection, Microbial Control, and Integrated Urban Water Management

2011 Mark R. Wiesner, Ph.D., P.E., environmental engineer

James L. Meriam Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University.
Lecture: Nanomaterials, Water, and the Directed Self-Assembly of Environmentally Responsible Industries

2010 Jerald L. Schnoor, Ph.D., civil and environmental engineer

Allen S. Henry Chair of Engineering at the University of Iowa.
Lecture: Water Sustainability in a Changing World

2009 Bruce E. Logan, Ph.D., environmental biotechnologist

Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering at Pennsylvania State University.
Lecture: Energy Sustainability of the Water Infrastructure

2008 Nancy N. Rabalais, Ph.D., aquatic scientist

Executive Director and Professor of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium in Chauvin, Louisiana.
Lecture: Ecosystem Science Informs Sound Policy ... or Does It?

2007 James L. Barnard, Ph.D., P.E., environmental engineer

Global Practice and Technology Leader for Advanced Biological Treatment at Black & Veatch Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri.
Lecture: Elimination of Eutrophication through Resource Recovery

2006 Philip C. Singer, Ph.D., P.E., water quality engineer

Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Lecture: Disinfection Byproducts in Drinking water: Additional Science and Policy Considerations in the Pursuit of Public Health Protection

2005 Menachem Elimelech, Ph.D., water quality engineer

Roberto C. Goizueta Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University.
Lecture: The Global Challenge for Adequate and Safe Water

2004 Vernon L. Snoeyink, Ph.D., environmental engineer

Director of the Science and Technology Center for Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems (Water CAMPWS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Lecture: Public Water Supply: Quantity, Quality, and Distribution Challenges

2003 George Tchobanoglous, Ph.D., wastewater engineer

Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of California, Davis.
Lecture: The Importance of Decentralized Wastewater Management in the Twenty-first Century

2002 Harry F. Ridgway, Ph.D., microbiologist

President of AquaMem Consultants in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Lecture: Membrane Research: The Quest for Pure Water in a New Millennium

2001 Joan B. Rose, Ph.D., microbiologist

Homer Nowlin Endowed Chair for Water Research at Michigan State University.
Lecture: The Unseen Challenge to Safe Water: Microbiology of Water.

2000 Charles R. O'Melia, Ph.D., water quality engineer

Abel Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University.
Lecture: a long the river run

1999 James J. Morgan, Ph.D., aquatic chemist

Marvin L. Goldberger Professor of Environmental Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
Lecture: Health of the Waters and Water for Health

1998 Rafael L. Bras, Sc.D., hydrologist

Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor and Chair of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Lecture: What Is a Hydrologist?

1997 Perry McCarty, Sc.D., environmental engineer

Silas H. Palmer Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Emeritus at Stanford University.
Lecture: Learning and Listening About Water

1996 Walter J. Weber Jr., Ph.D., DEE, environmental engineer

Gordon M. Fair and Earnest Boyce Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Lecture: Fit Water for the Future: The Requisite Exercise of Social Discipline, Competent Technology, Responsible Engineering, and the MEAD AORTA Agenda

1995 David C. White, M.D., Ph.D. (d. 2006) microbiologist

Distinguished Professor in the Department of Microbiology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Lecture: Clean Water Hardly Anywhere and That Not Safe to Drink

1994 Bruce Rittmann, Ph.D., water quality engineer

Director, Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University
Lecture: When Water Science Meets Water Technology

National Water Research Institute[edit]

The National Water Research Institute (NWRI), a 501c3 nonprofit, was founded by a group of Southern California water agencies in collaboration with the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation. Since 1991, NWRI has served as an independent industry expert in water science, technology, and public policy. NWRI’s many leading-edge projects and activities have advanced the worldwide understanding in areas such as treatment technologies, potable reuse, salinity and nutrient management, and other factors that influence the quality and availability of water supplies and resources.

Major activities include:

  • Funding and guiding scientific research projects.
  • Supporting graduate fellowships and other water-related educational programs.
  • Developing outreach material, such as reports and videos.
  • Holding events like workshops and conferences to promote new issues and technologies.
  • Providing peer-review panel services for local and state water agencies.
  • Managing projects or programs for water agencies and others.

Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke[edit]

"Nothing is more important than the careful stewardship and development of our water resources", said Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke, co-founder of NWRI.

Clark (1903 - 1993) married James Irvine, Jr., in 1929, and along with her daughter, Joan Irvine Smith, ran the Irvine Ranch, one of California’s most diverse and productive farms. Both Clarke and her daughter encouraged The Irvine Company to adopt a master plan for what would become the city of Irvine. She also encouraged The Irvine Company and the University of California system to establish the University of California, Irvine, on a portion of the vast Irvine Ranch. She and her daughter also founded the Irvine Museum,[2] which is dedicated to California Impressionism. Clarke knew several of the "plein-air" painters of her generation personally, and the museum's exhibits reflect the California landscape she cherished.

Clarke recognized the vital importance of water and strongly promoted better water science and technology. In 1991, Clarke co-founded NWRI along with her daughter Joan Irvine Smith. In honor of Clarke's vision, NWRI established the Clarke Prize in 1993 to recognize outstanding individuals who have implemented better water science research and technology.

Joan Irvine Smith[edit]

The great-granddaughter of James Irvine (an immigrant who assembled about 120,000 acres (490 km2) of what is now Orange County to form the Irvine Ranch), Joan Irvine Smith is well known for her philanthropy.

Smith’s reverence for California’s native plants and animals inspired her to become a leading environmental activist, speaking out about the urgent need to protect the state’s precious natural resources and to balance environmental preservation with economic growth. She was also responsible for donating land to what became the University of California at Irvine.

As a leading philanthropist through the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, Smith continues to champion the University of California at Irvine, funding important medical causes, including the Reeve-Irvine Research Center.[3] She also supports NWRI, which was founded by her vision and financial support, as well as numerous other environmental, cultural, and historical endeavors.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ International Congress of Distinguished Awards
  2. ^ The Irvine Museum
  3. ^ Reeve-Irvine Research Center