Esri’s Dawn Wright Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

GIS Technology Leader’s Chief Scientist Honored for Contributions to Geography

REDLANDS, Calif.—April 23, 2021—Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, today announced that Dr. Dawn Wright, the company’s chief scientist, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is recognized in the Sociology, Demography, and Geography section of Social and Behavioral Sciences for the important and groundbreaking work she has done in the areas of geography and as an oceanographer.

In addition to her work as chief scientist of Esri, Dr. Wright has been a professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University since 1995 and played a key role in creating the first geospatial data models of the world’s oceans.

“I would really like to express how this is representative of Esri as a whole,” said Wright. “I’m just extremely humbled and honored that my name is associated with it. But I have been so fortunate to be working with an amazing variety of brilliant, creative scientists at Esri—and students at Oregon State.”

“Dawn Wright has been an invaluable addition to Esri, and has since become an indelible part of who we are as a company,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. “I am so proud of her election to this institution, which is so well deserved as our work and the world at large is so much richer for her contributions to the field of geography.”

“Very, very few of my papers have been single-authored,” continued Dr. Wright. “It absolutely has been the work of some incredible teams. And at Esri, Jack has granted this wonderful freedom to run hard and fast on ideas and initiatives, while providing the encouragement needed when clambering up ‘slippery slopes’ that bring the inevitable series of failures before an eventual breakthrough.”

Having served on the Science Advisory Boards of both NOAA and the EPA, Wright joined Esri in 2011. Under Wright’s direction, Esri created the Ecological Marine Units (EMUs), a 3D digital ocean from sea surface to seafloor comprised of the most important parameters affecting the ocean’s ecology. It serves as a research tool for ocean planning and projection, while also educating the public about marine environments and how they are affected by climate change.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together to resolve them. The Academy’s studies have helped set the direction of research and analysis in science and technology policy, global security and international affairs, social policy, education, and the humanities.

With her election to the Academy, Dr. Wright joins the company of such notable members as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, John Maynard Keynes, and Nelson Mandela. Current members represent today’s innovative thinkers in every field and profession, including more than two hundred and fifty Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners.

To view a full list of new members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, visit

About Esri 

Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, helps customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Founded in 1969 in Redlands, California, USA, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations globally and in over 200,000 institutions in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, nonprofits, and universities. Esri has regional offices, international distributors, and partners providing local support in over 100 countries on six continents. With its pioneering commitment to geospatial information technology, Esri engineers the most innovative solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics. Visit us at

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