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The Leakey Foundation Announces New Scholarship for East African Geologists and Botanists

Grants | Press Release | The Leakey Foundation

Francis H. Brown in the field. Photo by Thure Cerling, courtesy of the Brown family.

SAN FRANCISCO – The Leakey Foundation is proud to announce the Francis H. Brown African Scholarship. This scholarship fund was established to honor the life and work of Dr. Francis H. Brown, a geologist whose study of the Omo-Turkana basin helped build the timeline of human evolution. Brown devoted his career to mapping and analyzing the geology of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, and his work provided a way to place fossil finds in chronological order.

“During his 50 years of research in Kenya and Ethiopia, my father found friendship and family in the African communities in which he worked,” said Francis Brown’s daughter, Erica Brown Gaddis. “He personally helped many secondary, university, and graduate students achieve their educational dreams. He helped many others by encouraging them to follow their hearts and by helping them financially. He had a genuine love and respect for the people of East Africa, especially those in which he saw a strong work ethic, an uncompromising optimism, and a commitment to improving their own communities. He is warmly referred to as Mzee, wise elder, by all who knew him in Kenya.”

Brown wished to create a fund to provide support for scholars from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Kenya who are pursuing doctoral degrees or research in geology and botany related to the study of human origins. Family, friends, and colleagues added generous contributions to the Francis H. Brown African Scholarship Fund, which will provide up to $25,000 in funding for successful applicants.

Francis H. Brown (r) with Cyprian Nyete (l). Photo courtesy of the Brown family.

“The Francis H. Brown African Scholarship is a much-needed resource for aspiring East African earth scientists and botanists,” said Brown’s daughter, Elise Brown Ersoy. “Our father believed deeply that Africans should be given the same opportunities as Europeans and Americans to research our shared history and be stewards of the natural wonders that reside in their region. This fund represents his commitment to making his vision a reality.”

Applications are now being accepted. Click here to learn more and apply.

I [name], of [city, state ZIP], bequeath the sum of $[ ] or [ ] percent of my estate to L.S.B. Leakey Foundation for Research Related to Man’s Origins, Behavior & Survival, (dba The Leakey Foundation), a nonprofit organization with a business address of 1003B O’Reilly Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129 and a tax identification number 95-2536475 for its unrestricted use and purpose.

If you have questions, please contact Sharal Camisa Smith sharal at 

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