Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources Award Archives

The UAF Alumni Association, by unanimous vote at the Sept. 22-23, 2017 meeting of the Board of Directors, has decided to no longer oversee this award, as it believes it's more appropriate to have it considered at the unit level. We keep this page here for historical purposes, and to continue honoring the past recipients.

The Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources Award was named after alumnus and tin miner Lenhart Grothe. Grothe, the award's first recipient, was a talented businessman who enjoyed sharing his wisdom with others. He started the Northern Exploration and Equipment Co. as a Fairbanks college student and graduated at the top of his class with a bachelor of science degree in mining engineering in 1957. Grothe, with his partner Tom Pearson, started Lost River Mining in Tin City and Nome, Alaska. Their mine in Tin City was the only operating tin mine in Alaska and the United States at the time. Grothe always said, "It doesn't matter what you do, just do what you do and do it well," and "Nothing is more valuable than your reputation as an honest person."

Criteria for selection: The Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources Award is given posthumously to an alumnus who made significant contributions in the resource, mining or agricultural fields.


2016 Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources Award winner

Donald John Grybeck `64

Studying and teaching about Alaska’s geology sustained Don Grybeck’s long and accomplished career. Don’s nickname was “Grizz,” which reflected his large stature and sometimes “blustery” personality, but he is remembered as a compassionate, humorous man with a great laugh.

Born in Indiana in 1936, Don dreamed as a child of going to Alaska. After serving in the Korean War, he enrolled at the University of Alaska in 1958. Summers, he worked as a surveyor for the Bureau of Land Management, a field geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and a miner at Red Devil on the middle Kuskokwim River. Don graduated from UA with a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering in 1964. He continued to work summers for the USGS until earning a doctorate in 1969 at the Colorado School of Mines. While there, he married fellow student Ellen McGregor. She had a son, and they later had two daughters.

After graduate school, the family moved to Fairbanks, where Don taught at UA from 1970 to 1975. He then joined the U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage and worked on mineral assessments in Southeast Alaska and the Brooks Range.

In 1979, Don became associate chief and then acting chief of the USGS Minerals Resources Program at the headquarters in Reston, Virginia. He was heavily involved in providing minerals information to Congress during debate over the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

Don returned to Alaska in 1984 to lead the USGS Alaska geology branch during the height of the Alaska Mineral Resource Assessment Program. In the late 1990s, he and Alaska’s miners secured money to create the Alaska Resource Data File, the “go-to” source for minerals information in Alaska. He continued to work on ARDF after retiring and moving to Washington in 1999.

Don passed away in 2012 at his home in Port Ludlow, Washington.


Glen D. Franklin, ’36

Glen Franklin was born on April 30, 1913, on a farm near Chewelah, Stevens County, Washington. In 1936 he graduated from the Alaska Agriculture and School of Mines, later the University of Alaska Fairbanks, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a major in accounting and a minor in education. In April 1938 he married fellow alumna Vieno Wahto, who he met while in school.

Glen’s mining career started in the summer of 1936, when Ernest Patty hired him to be the chief operating accountant for Fairbanks-based Alluvial Golds and Gold Placers. In 1941, Glen registered for the draft and worked for Alaska Freight Lines doing strategic military work in Alaska for the War Department. After the war, Glen returned to the Alaska placer gold mining industry, and in 1945 with four partners — Charles F. Herbert, Leonard J. Stampe, Earl Ellingen and Harold Schmidt — he formed the Yukon Placer Mining Company.

Glen was a civic-minded individual. Having developed an interest in politics after the war, he ran unsuccessfully as an Independent for the Territorial House in 1947. In 1949 Glen ran and won as a conservative Democrat. He represented Alaska’s 4th Judicial Division in the Territorial Legislature and was part of the group that drafted the first Alaska statehood bill. When he wasn’t re-elected in 1953, Glen became a lobbyist for the Alaska Miners Association in Juneau until statehood.

After 1959, Glen Franklin and Harold "Smitty" Schmidt continued the Canadian placer mining operation; they operated together until 1965. Afterwards, Glen operated Franklin Enterprises, a subsidiary of the YPMC, on a small scale on Eldorado Creek until 1968.

When the price of gold began to rise in the mid-1970s, Glen worked as a placer consultant. During 1974-75, he worked with Toronto-based Livengood Joint Ventures, developing a largescale placer mining operation on the Livengood Bench north of Fairbanks. He also provided consulting expertise for operations in Idaho, Oregon and California, and internationally in Haiti, Mexico, and Italy.

Vieno died in 1980. In 1983, Glen pursued a relationship with Patricia Egan Sather, who had recently been widowed. That summer, Glen and Pat were married.

Glen was very active in the Pioneers of Alaska, and a strong supporter of the University of Alaska. Through the Pioneers Igloo #4, Glen directed the purchase and installation of the life-sized bronze statue of the first university president, Dr. Charles Bunnell, which still stands on the Fairbanks campus across from Signers’ Hall.

On the evening of June 17, 2008, Glen D. Franklin, aged 95, passed peacefully in his sleep with his wife, Pat, by his side.

It is with great honor that the UAF Alumni Association posthumously presents to Glen Franklin the 2013 Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources Award.

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