Lacovara to receive The Explorers Club Medal in March

Lacovara to receive The Explorers Club Medal in March

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Dr. Kenneth Lacovara in Patagonia where he discovered Dreadnoughtus schrani.
Lacovara in Patagonia where he discovered Dreadnoughtus schrani.

Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, founding dean of Rowan University’s School of Earth & Environment and a world-renowned paleontologist, will join the ranks of Jane Goodall, Neil Armstrong, James Cameron and Neil DeGrasse Tyson when he receives The Explorers Club Medal in New York City next month.

Lacovara, who in 2005 discovered Dreadnoughtus schrani, one of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk the earth, is an elected fellow of The Explorers Club, a Manhattan-based professional society that, since 1904, has been a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide.

He will be honored during a black tie awards dinner March 16 during the club’s 115th annual celebration.

In addition to his field research, Lacovara is a popular, international speaker and author whose 2017 book, Why Dinosaurs Matter (Simon & Schuster/TED Books), earned a prestigious Silver Nautilus Book Award. His presentation "Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe," was one of the Top Ten TED Talks of 2016 that has since been viewed more than 1.65 million times.

Lacovara is also director of the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University, a 65-acre former marl pit purchased by the University in 2015 that was endowed with a $25 million gift by alumni Jean and Ric Edelman to preserve it as a unique outdoor laboratory for students, faculty and citizen scientists.

Lacovara and his team have already uncovered a cache of 65 million-year-old Cretaceous-age fossils at the Mantua Township park where he hopes to help prove how the reign of the dinosaurs ended. Plans are underway to develop the park as a center for STEM researchers and explorers of all ages.

In addition to Goodall, Armstrong, Cameron and DeGrasse Tyson, previous Explorers Club Medal recipients have included balloonist Auguste Piccard (1954), mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary (1986) and aviator/adventurist Steve Fossett (2003).

“I’m honored and humbled to be joining a group of medalists that includes so many of the heroes and adventurers who inspired me as a child,” Lacovara said. “There is so much left to explore and learn about our amazing planet. I am fortunate to have played a small role in uncovering our wondrous past and am grateful to the Club for the recognition.”

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar mission this summer, The Explorer’s Club gala will also honor all living Apollo moonwalkers, astronauts and engineers.