SOCORRO, N.M., March 6, 2000 -- The Don Yardley Fellowship Fund recently was established at New Mexico Tech to provide financial support for graduate students at the university who decide to pursue professional interests in ore deposits and mineral exploration.
The Yardley Fellowship is named in honor of Donald H. Yardley, a longtime professor at the University of Minnesota's (U of M) School of Mines and Metallurgy who was an influential mentor of numerous U of M graduates, including Michael "Mike" J. Fitzgerald (B.S., geological engineering, U of M class of 1957), the main benefactor of the new fellowship fund.
Fitzgerald visited several universities and their faculty members throughout the nation before deciding to establish the fellowship at New Mexico Tech with an initial $25,000 donation.
The Don Yardley Fellowship is an endowed fellowship, which means the monies collected for the fund through outside sources will be matched on a one-to-one basis by New Mexico Tech.
Administrators at the university are projecting that the Don Yardley Fellowship Fund will grow to $250,000 within five years.
"We're hoping to draw enough from the fund this first year to support at least one graduate student during the summer months," says Andrew R. Campbell, professor of geology at New Mexico Tech.
"After the fellowship fund reaches a specified level, we then hope to implement a regular fellowship program which will help support several students throughout their studies here at Tech," he explains.
The newly established fellowship also has become a "springboard," Campbell says, for possibly organizing a new master's degree option within the geology master's program at New Mexico Tech.
Several Tech professors, including Campbell, professor of geochemistry David I. Norman, and associate professor of mineral engineering William X. Chávez, Jr., are working to emphasize an education focused on ore deposit exploration.
"We're going to have to do some minor tweaking of the current course contents," Campbell points out, "but, because ore deposit geology has been a long-time strength here at Tech, the courses required for such a program are already in place."
Once established, the new degree option would offer students a "well-rounded education, with a strong emphasis on the practical and theoretical aspects of ore deposits and mineral exploration," Campbell adds.
The Don Yardley Fellowship Fund's namesake -- Donald H. Yardley -- was born in 1917 in Estevan, a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada, located just across the border from North Dakota.
Yardley obtained both his bachelor of science degree in mining engineering and his master of science in geology from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
He later went on to earn his doctorate in geology at the University of Minnesota and taught there from 1951 to 1984.
"Yardley taught several courses related to mineral exploration and initiated and taught the first undergraduate lecture/lab in geochemical exploration in the United States," says Yardley Fellowship benefactor M. J. Fitzgerald. "However, the most important aspects of Don Yardley's teaching to me and, I think to my classmates in the mid-'50s, as well, were his philosophy of exploration and his emphasis on practical, simple approaches to solving the problems involved."