Hugo T. Dummett (1940-2002)
Hugo, the past president of our Society, was born in Springs, South Africa, on April 7, 1940. Most members of SEG will now know that he died on Wednesday, August 25, in a car crash in South Africa. He was alone in the car on an open road and the indications are that he fell asleep at the wheel.
Hugo was the quintessential explorer. Physically he was a big and very energetic man with a robust expectation that his body would respond to whatever demands he placed on it. He was bluff and always welcoming, with an infectious enthusiasm for the discussion of any exploration project—his own or that of another. He had an instant rapport with anyone who shared his enthusiasm about the hunt for mineral deposits that crossed all boundaries of language and geography and that allowed him to be at home anywhere, from Mongolia to Mexico. But he was also a scientist; and in the geological matters in which he detected an exploration benefit he could be a thorough researcher.
He was a skilled and persuasive public speaker and he enjoyed meeting people everywhere his work took him. He had trained a natural ability to retain names so that he was rarely at a loss, even in those situations in China and Russia—for example—where many westerners simply give up. He had a boisterous sense of fun; He loved to laugh and to joke, but he had at times an unexpected gentleness that is perhaps a particular gift of big people. He denied any pretension in the arts, but for all that he was a skilled photographer of the African wildlife he so loved and his photographs of people, taken around the world, and particularly photographs of the children, were never mere snapshots.
As a president of SEG, Hugo was committed to enhancing the Society’s service to its members through the development of new programs focused on the business of explorations. The Hugo T. Dummett Fund supports applied economic geology research, including the development of new exploration techniques, and the dissemination of related results through publications, lectures, short courses, workshops, and conferences.
Hugo's energy was astounding. He was everywhere he needed to be, radiating cheerful enthusiasm and encouragement, offering his own experience but rejoicing in the fresh ideas, newly minted knowledge of his team, and most of all exposing young geoscientists to novel skills. Whether or not you are a member of SEG, you can support this extraordinary fund.