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Paterson honored with J.P. Gries Geologist of the Year award
Release Date Friday, April 11, 2014
AIPG South Dakota Section Past-President and Mines alumnus Thomas Durkin (left) presents the 2014 J.P. Gries Geologist of the Year award to Mines professor Dr. Colin J. Paterson (right).

RAPID CITY, S.D. (April 11, 2014) – The South Dakota section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) has named South Dakota School of Mines & Technology professor Colin J. Paterson, Ph.D., as 2014 J.P. Gries Geologist of the Year. The award is named in honor of Dr. John Paul Gries for his exceptional work in the field of geology and is provided each year by the South Dakota Section AIPG in memory of Gries, a longtime geology professor at the School of Mines.

A native of New Zealand, Paterson earned Ph.D. and B.Sc. (honors) degrees in geology at University of Otago in 1978 and 1972, respectively. He inherited his love of the outdoors, sports and geology in the terrain of the South Island of New Zealand. While attending university there, Paterson interned with mineral exploration companies, completed his Ph.D., and then took a position as lecturer in economic geology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. His educational and research experiences led him to an academic career in North America.

Paterson currently serves as professor of economic geology at the School of Mines, where he has remained a faculty member of the Department of Geology & Geological Engineering for the past 32 years. In this position, he has educated thousands of undergraduate and graduate students in geology, many of whom have gone on to achieve success in the mineral industry in North America and elsewhere around the world. He has led geology field camps and trips for college students in the Black Hills, Turkey, Spain, Hawaii, New Zealand and the southwest United States. He has published more than 30 professional papers in the field of geology.

Among his other exceptional contributions to the field of geology and the environment are:

·         Development of the first undergraduate and graduate classes in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at the School of Mines, following a 1993 NASA Space Grant-funded summer faculty internship at USGS EROS Data Center

·         Chairman, Department of Geology & Geological Engineering at School of Mines from 1995-1997

·         Director, Black Hills Natural Science Field Station (geology field camp) from 1999‐2005

·         Co-founder and president of the Norbeck Society, Inc., an advocacy group for stewardship, restoration, and enjoyment of public lands in the Black Hills

·         Founder and advisor of “Norbeck Uni” and “Society of Economic Geologists,” student organizations at the School of Mines

Previous J.P. Gries award recipients include State Geologist Derric Iles and Dr. Mark Fahrenbach of the South Dakota DENR’s Geological Survey Program, Fred Steece of DENR’s Minerals and Mining Program, and Drs. James Fox, Alvis Lisenbee, J. Foster Sawyer, Perry H. Rahn, Jack Redden and Edward Duke of the School of Mines, and Mark Anderson of the U.S. Geological Survey.


About SDSM&T

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is $62,400 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at