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Johnston Biography and Scholarship

Johnston, Thomas Lovell (1911-2006)

Born October 23, 1911 in San Francisco, Thomas Johnston was a civil engineer, who headed US Air Force weapons systems construction and integration. Upon retirement he developed academic interests in geology, archaeology, and biological anthropology, and earned an interdisciplinary master’s degree in anthropology and geology in 1983. His master’s research project was entitled “Geology of the California Sierra Nevada geomorphic province, and an anthropological study of aboriginal and Western man’s conflict over natural resources”. Completed under the supervision of C. Melvin Aikens (anthropology) and Ewart M. Baldwin (geology), Mr. Johnston’s thesis is available in the UO Science Library.

From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Tom served as research assistant to Prof. John Lukacs and his graduate students in biological anthropology and had office space in 369 Condon Hall. Tom enjoyed his role as research assistant and his interactions with faculty and students in the bioanthropology laboratory. Tom’s laboratory tasks included drafting location maps, sketching archaeological and forensic specimens, and constructing devices for precisely orienting artifacts and teeth. He co-authored with Robert F. Pastor a chapter on dental microwear and attrition in a mid-Holocene skeletal sample from the mid-Ganga Plain, North India (Pastor and Johnston, 1992). His estate gift to the UO Department of Anthropology specifically targets graduate students in biological anthropology for these reasons.

An avid outdoor enthusiast, Tom was an active member of the Eugene Obsidians hiking club, for whom he lead a climb of Mt. Thielsen (1975) and participated in multiple climbs of the Middle and South Sister. He was also a member of the Alpine Mountaineering Club of Banff, Canada. He died of pneumonia June 15th 2006, at the age of 94.

The Thomas L. Johnston and Helene S. Johnston Scholarship fund is an endowment created to support Ph.D. students in biological anthropology at the University of Oregon. This award was made possible by the generous donation of Thomas Lovell Johnston.


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