Major Donor Profiles

Agnese Nelms Haury
It may have been her training as a historian that allowed Agnese Haury to quickly grasp the significance of the science of dendrochronology. When Agnese toured through the crowded and hidden quarters of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research in the old West Stadium on the UA campus, she realized that this world-class science program needed to be in a showcase building befitting its needs and stature. Vast storerooms and tiny offices under the concrete bleachers contain the birthplace of "dendrochronology".

Dendrochronology is the study of annual growth rings in trees. Information extracted from those growth layers provides insights into many other sciences, such as archaeology, climatology, geology and ecology.

Andrew Ellicott Douglass began to develop the science in the early 1900s. He joined the UA faculty in 1906, founded the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research (LTRR) in 1937 and built it into the most famous center for dendrochronology in the world. But Agnese Haury is giving the program its first permanent home.

Agnese grew up in Houston, earned a history degree at Bryn Mawr College, and worked for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace with Alger Hiss. She came to Tucson in 1965. In 1990 she married long-time friend Emil Haury, a world famous anthropologist, Southwestern archaeologist and director of the Arizona State Museum. Emil was also a protégé of Tree-Ring Lab founder Douglass.

"Since I learned about it back in 1964, I have been deeply interested in the Laboratory and what it reveals about the history of the world," Haury said. "This is a terrific science that is unknown to most people."

In 2007 Haury decided to take the lead in creating a permanent home for the LTRR, after more than 70 years in "temporary" quarters beneath the stands at Arizona Stadium. Her $9 million dollar gift, combined with $3 million from the University of Arizona is now being used to build a new 20,000 square foot home for the Laboratory, to be completed in late 2012.

"LTRR is an extraordinary program, a shining star," she said. "It's about time the lab got a building."

J. David and Edith Lowell
Lots of young boys collect interesting rocks. But by the age of seven, J. David Lowell showed an early aptitude for collecting valuable rocks, finding chunks of ore and tossing them into his father's truck. He grew up near Nogales, Arizona and became one of the world's most successful exploration geologists.

Lowell, a UA alumnus, led exploration projects and worked on discovery teams that located some of the biggest and best copper and gold mines in the world. The most significant was La Escondida mine in Chile-the largest copper mine in the world. Though modest about his accomplishments, he does admit that he's collected six finder's fees in his career.

Edith Sykes Lowell and J. David Lowell met while both were students at the UA in the late 1940s. They married, he completed a degree in geological engineering, she earned hers in anthropology. Then they went searching for mineral deposits together. And they were very successful.

"Since I had the good luck to fall into some money, I thought a good place to put it would be the University of Arizona," said Lowell.

In 2001 the Lowells established two endowments to benefit the Department of Geosciences in the College of Science, the J. David Lowell Graduate Scholarship in Geosciences and the J. David Lowell Chair in Economic Geology. The economic geology chair has already enabled the establishment of an innovative master's degree program to serve exploration, development and mining geologists from around the world.

John P. Schaefer
It would be difficult to imagine anyone giving to the UA in more ways and over a longer period of time than John P. Schaefer.

Schaefer came to the UA as a young member of the Chemistry faculty in 1961. He became President of the University in 1972. Many credit Schaefer with setting the University on the path that led to its current status as a Research I university. His support had particular impact on the UA's rise to international prominence in Astronomy. Schaefer approved the University's participation in the Multiple Mirror Telescope, a project that revolutionized thinking about optical telescope design. Later, as chairman of Research Corporation Technologies, Schaefer helped to fund the Large Binocular Telescope project on Mount Graham.

Schaefer continues to work on behalf of UA Science as a member of the Dean's Board of Advisors and a donor. He supports the student Astronomy Camps offered through the UA's Department of Astronomy and many other programs that encourage young people to get excited about science.

"We all want to make a difference," Schaefer said. "Giving a student the resources to be creative and further his or her education is one way of making the world a better place."