At their 2004 annual conference held in Berkeley, California, the Astronomical League council voted unanimously to give a President's Award to Mr. Walter Haas, founding officer and Executive Director Emeritus of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO).
Walter Haas began making observations of the planets in the 1930s and in about 1940, he published an article about Mars in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Shortly after World War II, Walter corresponded with several observers and founded the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO).
The first issue of the Strolling Astronomer (which is also called the Journal of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers) was published in 1947. Walter and his wife Peggy were instrumental in sustaining this organization during the early years.
Walter was the executive director of the ALPO between 1947 and the mid-1980s. Walter has attended most of the ALPO conventions, and he continues to be an excellent advisor and referee for the journal. Currently, Walter is the Executive Director Emeritus of the ALPO. During the past 18 months, Walter has continued to make visual observations of several of the planets and has also served as a proofreader for articles that appear in the Strolling Astronomer.
Astronomical League President Robert Gent reports, "Mr. Walter Haas has been an inspiration to amateur astronomers for many decades. Only three other Presidential Awards have been presented over the years. These awards were given only to those who have gone far above and beyond the call of duty in promoting astronomy. We were excited to give this award to such a deserving person as Walter."