A.A. (Tony) Ekdale, internationally recognized authority on trace fossils and professor of geology and geophysics, was awarded the Hatch Prize in Teaching in a ceremony at the University of Utah.

Carrying a $5,000 cash prize, the award was established from an endowment by Calvin S. and JeNeal N. Hatch of Orinda, Calif. Ekdale is the fourth recipient. Previous winners were Lloyd E. McCleary in educational administration, the late David Jones in theatre, and Ronald G. Coleman in history.The award is presented annually by the University Teaching Committee to a professor who distinguishes himself or herself. The criteria are "unusual motivation and stimulation of students to seek greater learning, unusual concern for students, noteworthy expertness in a given field of study, and other exemplary contributions to university education."

Edward Kick, chairman of the University Teaching Committee, describes Ekdale as an "effective and dedicated teacher whose contributions in teaching extend far beyond the classroom."

Ekdale held the special rank of University Professor in 1986-87, a position in which he worked to build public awareness of the threat of extinction facing many species around the world. He taught a course titled, "Extinction and Evolution: Nature's Delicate Balance."

A professor at Utah since 1974, Ekdale also organized a public forum on the topic "Natural and Man-caused Threats to the Future of Life on Earth." He specializes in the ecology of extinct organisms and the reconstruction of ancient environments.

Much of Ekdale's research has dealt with Cretaceous sediments in eastern and northwestern Denmark.