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The Importance of High Standards of Professional Ethics

The membership of the Mississippi Geological Society is diverse and includes geologists and other geoscientists with backgrounds in industry, government, and academics.  The Society has always focused its efforts on the promotion of educational outreach (the Boland Scholarships, MSU "Brown Bag" Lecture Series), continuing education (the Noon Luncheon Lecture Series, Poster Sessions, and MGS Symposia), and adherence to the highest standards of professional ethics for its members.  The Society's  members include many members of the Board of MSBRPG, as well as a past president of the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG).  Since 1997, geologists practicing within the State of Mississippi have been required to register with MSBRPG and to conduct their professional work with adherence to the high ethical standards expected and required of all professional geologists.  For more information about the important oversight and guidance provided by the MSBRPG, please visit their site.

High ethical standards include but are not limited to the following responsibilities, as established in the Mississippi Registered Professional Geologists Practice Act of 1997 (the following is an abridged listing*):

A Registered Professional Geologist ("RPG") has an obligation to, and to the protection of, the public, and to promote the public welfare;

An RPG has an obligation to report any and all violators to the MSBRPG;

An RPG shall only undertake assignments or provide professional services that he or she is qualified or trained to undertake;

An RPG shall only sign and affix his or her MSBRPG seal to those documents prepared directly by the RPG, or under his or her direct control, and for which the RPG assumes full responsibility;

An RPG shall not knowingly make any false or misleading statement, or make any sensational, exaggerated, or unwarranted statement, claim or advertisement when engaged in the practice of geology;

Any public statement or report made by an RPG shall include all relevant and pertinent information;

Any professional opinion rendered by an RPG shall set forth all assumptions used to reach said opinion and distinguish clearly between what is factual and what has been assumed or projected;

An RPG shall not knowingly permit his or her work to be used for any unethical or illegal undertaking or enterprise;

An RPG shall disclose any and all conflicts of interest that may exist;

An RPG shall protect the interest of his or her client or employer, and adhere to all confidentiality requirements, as long as there is no conflict with the public's safety, health and welfare, or the RPG's professional obligations and ethics;

An RPG shall only provide those professional services to his or her client or employer that he or she is competent or trained to provide;

An RPG shall avoid any and all conflicts of interest, and shall disclose any potential conflict of interest to a client or employer;

An RPG shall not use undue influence or offer gifts to solicit work;

An RPG shall not accept compensation without furnishing services, unless the compensation is for a retainer or similar agreement;

An RPG shall not use an employer's resources for private gain;

An RPG shall give credit for work done by others, avoid plagiarism, and not accept credit rightfully due others;

An RPG shall endeavor to cooperate with others in the profession and encourage the ethical dissemination of geological knowledge; and

An RPG shall not falsely or maliciously attempt to injure the reputation or business of others, or attack or attempt to discredit others for holding viewpoints different that that of said RPG.

*Source: MSBRPG website; Miss. Code Ann. 73-63-17(a); 73-63-17(k)

The Mississippi State Board of Registered Professional Geologists has entered into Statements of Understanding with four neighboring states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Texas.  The state agencies responsible for licensing and registration of professional geologists in those four states have agreed to exchange comity with the MSBRPG, provided that an applicant for comity in one state is duly licensed in the other state, and as long as both state agencies approve of the application for comity.  This is a general description of the statements of understanding regarding comity between the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Texas.  The State of Louisiana began requiring the licensing of geologists in 2014, establishing the Louisiana Board of Professional Geoscientists (LBOPG).  LBOPG's "grandfathering" period ended on December 31, 2014.

Petroleum geologists and other "resource" geoscientists are primarily engaged in the (typically subsurface) exploration for hydrocarbons and other resources for public and private industry, which sets them apart from many geoscientists with backgrounds in government and academics.  Petroleum geologists in particular must focus on the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct when participating in the solicitation of funds from third parties for the drilling and development of oil and gas wells, regardless of the nature of risk associated with the proposed work.  The risks inherent in oil and gas exploration, for example, must be fully disclosed and presented to all investors, and the professional geologist should take care to ensure that his or her proposal or presentation contain all material fact relevant to the "prospect" under consideration, and all data pertaining to the proposal must be disclosed and offered to all third parties that have taken the proposal under consideration.

The theft of intellectual property must also be strongly discouraged.  All geoscientists must recognize and credit the work product of others and adhere strictly to all confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements designed to protect the "generator".  For the truly professional geologist, respecting the intellectual property of others is not necessarily dictated solely by the duration of such agreements; one's "ethical compass" must guide the professional geologist's conduct at all times in such matters.

The Mississippi Geological Society takes pride in its student mentoring and educational outreach to geologists in training.  The importance of high standards of professional ethics remains an integral part of that outreach effort, and the proud legacy of all of those mentors (now Honorary Members) who set such lofty examples for us to follow, when we ourselves were young and impressionable students.

 - Steve Walkinshaw, MGS Webmaster; MS RPG #0310, LA RPG #65 


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 We're always looking for a good Noon Speaker.
Got a good presentation? Maybe you just attended a great talk or lecture. We'd like to hear from you! Please contact any of our officers or MGS committee chairmen and tell us more about it. The Society is always looking for good Speakers to give technical presentations at its Monthly Noon Luncheons. In most instances, we can help defray some or all of the travel costs incurred in coming to Jackson for the presentation. Thanks!

Founding Society Membership (1939)

The Mississippi Geological Society was founded on November 28, 1939 by 38 petroleum geologists employed in and around the Jackson, Mississippi area. 

The founders were:

Thomas Anderson, R. M. Ashley, John Berg, Grant Blanchard, Walter Burress, Harry Buchner, Jack Cooper, C. G. Dickinson, Edward Dobrick, E. H. Finch, E. L. Fipps, Edwin Gaby, David Harrell, Urban Hughes, Geoffrey Jeffreys, F. R. Kittredge, F. H. Leach, Jr., C. L. Morgan, R. W. Mallory, O. B. Manes, J. R. Maxey, Pat Meholin, Frederic Mellen, J. S. Miller, H. M. Morse, W. C. Morse, Tom McGlothlin, L. R. McFarland, Lloyd Parker, H. B. Peacock, C. F. Scott, John Storm, Max Sartain, Harlan Taylor, Langdon Tennis, Wade Turnbull, Henry Toler & Arthur Wedel.




Esther Applin *

Paul Applin *

Lawrence F. Boland *

Verne L. Culbertson *

H. Leroy Francis *

Jim Furrh *

David C. Harrell *

Oleta R. Harrell *

E. Ralph Hines

Dudley J. Hughes*

Urban B. Hughes *

Wendell B. Johnson*

Walter P. Jones *

Wilbur H. Knight *

Hilton L. Ladner *

Dee Layman *

Winnie McGlammery *

Thomas McGlothlin *

Frederic F. Mellen *

Maurice E. Meisse *

Emil Monsour*

William H. Moore *

Marvin E. Norman *

Marvin L. Oxley *

Richard R. Priddy *

Thurston C. Rader *

Donald Reese *

Julius Ridgeway

Baxter Smith *

Harry Spooner

Henry Toler *

H. Vaughn Watkins

Stewart Welch *

Charles Williams

Jerry Zoble


* Deceased