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Supporting UW Athletics and Geology
Sometimes the greatest gifts come out of the blue, totally unexpected, with no strings attached. That opportunity at the final buzzer.
The estate gift from Sherrill and Anna Drum to Athletics and the Department of Geology and Geophysics is like that. No one knew it was coming, and the Drums gave the university flexibility in how the gift can be applied.
"It's phenomenal when you can create something like this. Someone who has really been under the radar, who didn't want any type of recognition. They certainly have left a legacy here at the University of Wyoming," says Randy Welniak, Senior Associate Athletics Director.
For Athletics and Geology
As provided for in Sherrill's will, the gift is split equally between Athletics and the Department of Geology and Geophysics.
Within Athletics, the funds will be used for a scholarship for a student-athlete and for facility enhancement.
A major upcoming capital campaign is focused on a much-needed renovation of the Arena-Auditorium. Improvements include enlarging the floor for expanded practice space, enhancing the concourse for ADA compliance, adding club seating, and modernizing the roof for structural and fire safety reasons and to add a center-hung video scoreboard. The Drum gift will most likely contribute to this effort.
"The University of Wyoming Athletics Department benefits tremendously from gifts like the Sherrill Drum estate gift," says Tom Burman, director of UW Athletics. "These funds help us continue providing opportunities for our student-athletes to succeed both academically and athletically here at UW."
Within the Department of Geology and Geophysics, funds are designated for Geochemical Analytical Laboratory enhancements, general education, research, and facility renovation.
The impact on the Geochemical Analytical Laboratory is particularly timely for energy-related research, as the lab's focus is on analysis of fluids (including water and oil), rocks (including energy-related materials), and soils (often to reconstruct climate history). It is used by faculty both within and outside the department.
"Gifts like these have tremendous impacts on our ability to quickly address teaching and research needs and provide flexibility to improve student learning," says Paul Heller, head of the UW Department of Geology and Geophysics.
A UW Alum and Faithful Fan
Sherrill was born in West Virginia in 1917, the oldest of three kids. His father A.G. was a wildcat oil driller, and the family moved constantly from one drilling camp to another. Much of Sherrill's childhood was spent in the West and in Wyoming.
In high school, he was an outstanding track athlete, and in World War II he signed up with the Army Air Corps and trained as a pilot. He was stationed in Alaska as a weather specialist, monitoring American Lend-Lease flights to Russia.
After the war, he came to the University of Wyoming and graduated with a B.S. in geology in 1950. Later, he fondly remembered his classes with Professors Mears, Boyd, and Blackstone. His wife Anna also graduated from UW with a degree in education.
Like his father, Sherrill spent his career out West in the oil industry-working for Marathon Oil Company (formerly Ohio Oil Company). Sherrill retired to Arkansas after 43 years on the job.
He was an avid golfer, a follower of baseball, and a faithful fan of UW Athletics.
Top: A UW geology and geophysics student (courtesy UW Photo Service)
Middle: A full Arena-Auditorium for a Cowgirl basketball game (courtesy UW Photo Service)
Bottom: Sherrill Drum