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Buchanan: $20 Million Raised for UW School of Energy Resources Building


September 12, 2008 — The University of Wyoming has secured nearly $20 million for the design and construction of a home for its School of Energy Resources (SER) and will move forward to further advance energy research in Wyoming, UW president Tom Buchanan announced today (Friday).

"A new facility is a major step toward fulfilling the vision the Wyoming State Legislature endorsed two and a half years ago when it gave us the go-ahead and the funding to start putting together a world-class School of Energy Resources," Buchanan said at a news conference during a meeting of the UW Board of Trustees.

He emphasized that buildings are not as important as the programs and people in them.

"This new facility is essential to our School of Energy Resources, but only as far as it goes in providing an environment in which our faculty and students can excel in teaching and learning and translating knowledge into ways to help extend the long-term energy future for Wyoming, the region and the nation," Buchanan said.

The SER, he said, holds promise of "extraordinary things to come," allowing UW to recruit "nationally and internationally recognized faculty to UW to expand our understanding of our current sources of energy and discover how we move past fossil fuels to the energy sources of the future."

This faculty, Buchanan said, will help develop the next generation of researchers and skilled workforce for the state's energy industry.

The $20 million for the SER building is part of $75 million UW has raised to support energy teaching and research since the Wyoming State Legislature in 2006 committed $12 million to start the SER. The total includes nearly $55 million in private and corporate gifts, some of which are the largest in the university's history. Buchanan said these include monetary gifts from Jim Nielson of Cody, and corporate donations from EnCana, Shell, BP America, Marathon and Anadarko, plus software contributions from Schlumberger and Halliburton.

"Most of these gifts have gone to support our new School of Energy Resources, but gifts have also gone to developing and enhancing labs in the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, as well as to strengthening teaching and research initiatives in the departments of Geology and Geophysics and Petroleum and Chemical Engineering," he said, adding that the university is also celebrating more than $20 million raised through matching endowment and facilities funds created by the state legislature, allowing UW to double the impact of private-sector gifts.

Additionally, Buchanan said UW has forged new relationships to further enhance its energy-related efforts.

"Today we can celebrate the partnership we have with the National Center for Atmospheric Research for a supercomputing center to be built between here and Cheyenne, and the partnership we're working on with General Electric for a coal gasification facility in Wyoming."

Chuck Brown, president of the UW Board of Trustees, acknowledged the donations that will build the SER building.

"But the school isn't about the building," Brown said. "It's about expertise the SER is pulling together from disciplines across the UW campus -- engineering, law, geology and geophysics, natural resources, economics, mathematics and finance. It couldn't succeed without them. As trustees, we expect great things from the university, and we're getting them. Now, we expect more.

Photo
Milestone -- University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan, right, and Board of Trustees President Chuck Brown on Friday announced that UW has secured nearly $20 million for the design and construction of a home for its School of Energy Resources. The $20 million for the SER building is part of $75 million UW has raised to support energy teaching and research since the Wyoming State Legislature in 2006 committed $12 million to start the SER. (UW Photo)

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