Scholarship named in his honor

 Dr. John W. Valley, a member of the GIA Board of Governors since 2014, retired from the Board following their regular annual meeting held in early November in Carlsbad, CA. The Board and GIA leadership recognized Valley’s tenure with a GIA scholarship in his honor.

“John Valley brought his keen scientific insight and expertise in Earth sciences to his near-decade on the Board in service of GIA’s consumer-protection mission,” said Lisa Locklear, Chair of the GIA Board of Governors. “It has been a pleasure and honor to work beside him.”

Valley, a renowned geoscientist and Charles R. Van Hise Distinguished Professor and former chair of the Department of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is known for his research in mineralogy, geochemistry, petrology and other Earth sciences. Known for his pioneering studies of zircon, the oldest gem, showing that habitable conditions and oceans existed on Earth far earlier than previously thought, Dr. Valley is a fellow of seven prestigious professional societies. He is a past-President of the Mineralogical Society of America and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has authored more than 400 articles and held editorial positions for numerous esteemed scientific journals. In 2017, his fellow scientists honored his work by naming a newly discovered mineral species, valleyite, in his honor.

“Just as John’s extensive research and teaching left an indelible mark on the scientific community, his wise counsel and keen scientific insight leave a lasting legacy at GIA,” said Susan Jacques, GIA president, CEO and Governor. “With his remarkable academic background, he helped advance the Institute’s research programs to the point where, today, GIA’s diamond research ranks with those of the top institutions in the world.”

The merit-based scholarship in Dr. Valley’s honor offers full tuition for one student to enroll in the GIA Graduate Gemologist program at the Carlsbad, CA, campus in 2024. It is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Similar scholarships recognize the services of past Governors Thomas Insley, Dione Kenyon, Elliot Tannenbaum and Dr. Barbara Sawrey, all of whom retired from the Board in 2022. Further information about the $2 million in GIA scholarships available each year can be found on the GIA website at

The GIA Board of Governors helps direct the strategy of the Institute to ensure that the mission and vision of GIA are followed in all decisions, that the reputation of GIA is preserved and continues to grow and that the financial goals of the Institute are met. The Governors have diverse backgrounds, bringing experience from various professions, industries and academic disciplines.