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Patrick H. O’Neill​
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Born and raised in Cordova, Alaska, Patrick H. O’Neill began his mining career in a small gold mine at the age of 15. Patrick earned two degrees in mining engineering at the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines while working in a mine during the summer and as a janitor at the College in winter, before war service as a pilot from 1941 to 1946. He returned to Fairbanks to work for U.S. Smelting, Refining and Mining Co. as exploration engineer, ascending through leadership positions to become Dredge Superintendent.​

In 1953, Patrick went to Colombia, South America as Chief Engineer for South American Gold and Platinum Company. The company was not profitable due to social problems, including illiteracy, poverty-level wages, inadequate housing, poor medical conditions, and lack of education and training. Fortunately, after a frustrating year, the ownership of the company changed, and Patrick became Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of South American Gold and Platinum Company, with funds to do what was necessary, and within three years the company was profitable.​

South American Gold and Platinum Company acquired other mining companies in Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico, Canada, and Turkey, as well as in the United States, and the name was changed to International Mining Corp. As President of International Mining Corp., Patrick was also Chairman or President of eight affiliated mining companies and on the boards of several major mining companies, such as The Fresnillo Company for 23 years, Zemex Corporation for 30 years, Placer Development, Moly Corp, Rosario Resources, and others. These companies developed and operated some of the Western world’s great metal resources.​

Patrick H. O’Neill became an outspoken advocate for corporate policies that struck the right balance between profitability, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship. He became an industry leader in calling for measures to improve the health, education, training, and safety of employees. His herculean measures to address employee social issues demonstrated how social responsibility contributed to profitability and greater mining efficiency. Patrick’s commitment to innovative social programs as part of mining operations helped change the way mines worked with their workers and communities throughout Latin America.​

Always active in community affairs, Patrick was on the Board of the Joslin Diabetes Center for 25 years, including 15 years as Chairman; 40 years as Councilor of the American Geographical Society; 25 years as Director of The Ireland-United States council for Commerce and Industry; former President of Igloo #4 Pioneers of Alaska; and former Chairman of The Arctic Institute of North America.​

Patrick is a member of several professional organizations including the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration for 77 years, the Explorer’s Club for 56 years and is listed in “Who’s Who in Engineering” and “Who’s Who in America.” His alma mater awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Science degree in 1976 in recognition of his professional achievements and his service to the university. Patrick authored his memoirs, From Snowshoes to Wingtips, published by University of Alaska press in 2007.​