2000 Fliers and Explorers Globe Signing Ceremony, 11 December 2000, New York City: Signers of the globe: (from left to right) Walter Pittman, William Ryan, Brian Jones, Bertrand Piccard, Don Walsh, and Neil Armstrong.
In a ceremony held on December 11, 2000 at the Wings Club in New York City, the American Geographical Society honored seven men who collectively have ventured the deepest and highest in all of human history, traveled farthest by balloon, and discovered catastrophic flooding of ancient seabeds. Honorees included Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard (deepest ocean dive, 1960); Neil Armstrong (first man on the Moon, 1969), Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones (first circumnavigation of Earth by balloon, 1999); William Ryan (discovered 5 million year-old Mediterranean Sea inundation and 7,500 year-old Black Sea inundation; and Walter Pitman (co-discovered Black Sea inundation). Jacques Piccard could not attend due to health, but all the others were present, and Bertrand Piccard spoke on behalf of his father as well as for himself.
The December 2000 ceremony was the first signing since the 1960s. Honorees were chosen through a formal process by the AGS Explorations Committee, final selection by the AGS Honors Committee and confirmation by the AGS Council. The globe-signing ceremony and associated exploration workshop were funded through a grant from the United States Geological Survey; donations by private contributors including Storm Richards and Associates, the Joseph Aurichio Foundation, and an anonymous donor; and in-kind donations by the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).