José Rubén Velasco Rodríguez
1998 Medal of Merit Recipient
Born September 12, 1910 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, Rubén Velasco spent his early years in Sonora, and later attended the University of Arizona, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering in 1932.
His long affiliation with the Cananea Consolidated Copper Company (then a subsidiary of the Anaconda Copper Company) began in 1935 as Assistant Geologist. He served as Exploration Geologist for the company in Mexico and Arizona from 1946 to 1948, when he was commissioned by Anaconda to complete geologic investigations in the copper-rich Cuajone-Toquepala- Quellaveco region in Peru. Subsequently, he was given responsibility for Anaconda's exploration program in Chihuahua and Sonora. In 1950, Velasco was named Chief Geologist of the Cananea Consolidated Copper Company, where he cultivated an exceptional group of well trained and skilled geologists.
From 1963 until his retirement in 1979, Rubén held several high-level positions with the Cananea Consolidated Copper Company and after 1973, its nationalized successor, Compañía Minera de Cananea. He followed his "retirement" with another career as a Professor in the Department of Mining Geology at the University of Sonora in Hermosillo, where he taught economic geology until his second retirement in 1991.
He is the author of important publications in both Spanish and English, member and former officer of several international professional organizations, and recipient of several awards from the University of Arizona, the University of Sonora, and Institute Minerva, recognizing his achievements and service. He is said to be proudest, however, of his "Award of Acknowledgment" from students of mining and geological engineering at the University of Sonora, recognizing his expertise as a true professional and inspirational educator.