Geological Society of America Announces the J. David Lowell Field Camp Scholarship Program Endowment

Gift to GSA Foundation significantly increases capacity to support students in field training

Boulder, Colo., USA: The Geological Society of America Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of the J. David Lowell Field Camp Scholarship Program Endowment, made possible through the generosity of Dr. David Lowell, renowned field-based mineral exploration geologist.

The $500,000 contribution establishes an umbrella under which GSA’s existing field camp scholarship programs will reside, as well as creates structure for new named field camp scholarships.

GSA has long been a proponent of the importance of field work in the development of emerging geoscientists, and is committed to awarding field camp scholarships to allow more students access to the unique learning opportunities of first-hand observation in a field setting.

Costs to attend field camps can be prohibitive, and gifts such as this are critical to building competency in the future geoscience workforce.

“Curricula and teaching pedagogy is evolving,” said George Davis, Regents Professor (Emeritus), Structural Geology and Provost Emeritus, University of Arizona, “and this new fund will allow for a range of new field-based training experiences and student engagement in the future.”

With degrees in mining engineering and geology, J. David Lowell pursued a career of field-based mineral exploration.

Ore deposit discoveries for which he is solely credited are Kalamazoo, Vekol, and Casa Grande (Arizona); Los Calatos, Pierina, and Toromocho (Peru); Escondida and Zaldívar (Chile); Mirador (Ecuador); and Alto Paraná (Paraguay).

Lowell discoveries made with the contributions of others include Bajo Alumbrera (Argentina); Dizon (Philippines); JA Orebody (Canada); San Cristobal and Leonor (Chile); and Warintza (Ecuador).

“He has personally discovered more copper than anyone in history and developed multibillion-dollar gold and copper mines that have changed the economies of nations,” said Joaquin Ruiz, Dean of the College of Science at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and former GSA President.

According to Davis, Lowell’s major scientific contribution was grasping the origin of mineralization and alteration zonation in porphyry copper deposits, leading to economic geology advances both in basic research and exploration. Combined impacts of his porphyry model and his unparalleled list of discoveries resulted in international lectureships and a stunning array of prestigious recognitions, including: the Society of Economic Geology Silver Medal, the Mining and Metallurgy Society of America Gold Medal, the Society of Economic Geology Penrose Gold Medal, the American Mining Hall of Fame Medal of Merit, the National Academy of Engineering, and two honorary doctoral degrees. Dave continues his quests in South America but acknowledges ‘a second career’: developing a School of Mines at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru, the oldest university in the new world. Enrollment is currently 400 students.

In short, J. David Lowell is an exemplar for the highest professional attainments in GSA’s broad-based international mission crossing academia, industry, business, and education. This endowment will further his legacy to a new generation of geoscientists.

TheGeological Society of America ( is a scientific society with members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.

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For Immediate Release
14 October 2019
GSA Release No. 19-42

Jack Hess