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UW and Wyoming’s Energy and Mining Industries: Partners for the Future
Approximately six years ago the University of Wyoming made a commitment to "strength in energy-related disciplines" and to use this expertise to assist the economic and energy future of Wyoming.
Such a challenge is interwoven in three university areas of distinction: (i) critical areas of science and technology; (ii) environment and natural resources; and (iii) professions critical to the state and region. Since 2005, UW and the Wyoming Legislature have committed literally hundreds of millions of dollars in addition to redirecting other resources to broaden energy expertise across the institution. Such an investment is truly a partnership: a partnership of resource commitments, a partnership of building a well-trained workforce, and a partnership to discover and advance technology to ensure that Wyoming leverages the most it can from its expansive natural resource base.
I often comment in my travels about the success UW has enjoyed in the energy science - new degrees, seminars, tens of millions of dollars in research to advance Wyoming's natural-resource economy, and outreach throughout the state to drive discussion and raise important issues related to wise use, reclamation, advanced technology, and more.
As students return to campus this fall from every state in the nation and alumni pursue their professions across the nation and the world, a summary of the contributions the energy and mining industry has had on this institution and the noteworthy progress of our growing relationship is warranted.
There was a time, you'll remember, when Wyoming high school students didn't have Hathaway Scholarships for those who were eager to pursue higher education. Oil, gas, and coal tax and royalty revenues made that one-of-a-kind opportunity possible.
You'll remember a time when UW struggled to hire highly distinguished scholars and educators, the Wyoming Legislature developed what is known today as Wyoming Excellence Chairs, to strengthen the level of teaching in various disciplines related to the economic and social challenges facing our state. Again, oil, gas, and coal production taxes and mineral revenues funded that endowment.
There was a time in the not too distant past when our faculty, staff and students were longing for new buildings and laboratories that wouldn't only enhance the teaching and learning experience but bring a new level of pride to the UW campus in Laramie. Federal mineral royalties, abandoned mine land funding, industry donations, and general tax revenue combined with the foresight and commitment to higher education of Wyoming's policymakers turned dreams into a reality.
That, amazingly, was just a few short years ago. Yet, today, I firmly believe that UW is in better shape than at any point in its rich 125-year history.
Our partners in the oil, gas and mining industries have undoubtedly helped shape campus, faculty funding, and student scholarship programs.
But that's not all.
It's also the faith of our partners that laid the foundation for the School of Energy Resources (SER), a multi-disciplined research center under the able leadership of the Energy Resource Council that works to enhance UW's energy-related education, research and outreach.
The SER and its nine centers of excellence -- including the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute and Carbon Management Institute -- are crucial to the university's commitment to strength in energy-related disciplines.
The SER also presents UW with its best opportunity to contribute highly trained students, expertise, and innovation to insure Wyoming leverages the most out of its tremendous natural resource base. The work of our distinguished faculty helps to support scientific and engineering outreach through dissemination of information to Wyoming's energy industries, companies and governmental agencies.
We're training the researchers and workers of tomorrow, equipping them along the way with the know-how required to solve the energy challenges facing Wyoming and the world.
UW takes seriously its challenge from the Wyoming State Legislature to support the state's promise to be a global leader in building a secure and sustainable energy future.
We also take pride in advancing our relations with industrial giants such as Encana, BP, Shell, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes, Anadarko, Ultra Petroleum, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Marathon Oil and many others.
Quite simply, UW wouldn't be what it is today without the tremendous support of our partners in the Wyoming Legislature, state government, and energy industry.
We thank our partners for their confidence in us and pledge to do all we can to make Wyoming as strong as you've made us.