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Volume 14 | Number 1 | September 2012

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Casper’s Defebaugh Elected ASUW President

The Associated Students of the University of Wyoming (ASUW) is under the leadership of a president from Casper for the second consecutive year.

Joel Defebaugh, a senior in political science, was elected in April to preside over a student government that oversees a budget of more than $1 million, including funding for a variety of student programs. He also serves as an ex-officio member of the UW Board of Trustees. Brett Kahler, a communications senior, also from Casper, was elected vice president.

Defebaugh is the fourth UW president in the past five years to hail from Wyoming, following Megan Degenfelder (Casper, 2011-12), Matt Haigler (Laramie, 2009-10) and Kelsey Day (Cheyenne, 2008-09).

UW Progresses on Plans for Gateway Center

The University of Wyoming Gateway Center won’t simply be another building. It’ll be a destination.

The proposed 49,000-square-foot center, to be located on the northwest corner of 22nd Street and Grand Avenue near War Memorial Stadium, will serve as a distinctive entry point to welcome alumni, students, friends and donors to UW’s Laramie campus and as a place to celebrate the university’s rich history and tradition.

“Everywhere you turn in this building, you’ll be surrounded by the traditions and achievements that define the University of Wyoming,” says Toby Marlatt, director of marketing and strategic planning of the UW Foundation.  The UW Foundation is funding the $20 million-plus project on a 2.4-acre site approved in January by the UW Board of Trustees.

Construction is expected to begin in 2013 on the center, which will include various meeting rooms, public and social event spaces and the latest in technological infrastructure.

The Gateway Center, which is part of UW’s Long Range Development Plan, will be a facility for prospective students and parents to enter the university; for alumni to arrive and celebrate the history and traditions of their alma mater; for corporations and organizations to recruit students; and for the UW Foundation, Alumni Association, Career Services and Admissions Office to collaborate in their efforts to support and promote the university.

Cheyenne-based Pappas & Pappas Architects, P.C., and DLR Group, an integrated design firm with offices across the United States, including Denver, have been contracted to design the center. Advent, LLC, a national branding firm that has handled high-profile projects at the University of Southern California, the University of Tennessee, Texas Tech University and other major universities, has been contracted to design exhibit and museum spaces in the center.

The construction manager at-risk is Wyoming-based Haselden Construction.

The UW-owned site presently houses the former U.S. Forest Service Research Station office, a garage, a small greenhouse and a storage facility. The property was deeded to the university in 2005 and is the current office space for a portion of the UW Foundation’s staff.

To learn more about the Gateway Center and to see additional renderings of the building, visit

Private Giving Exceeds $40 Million for Second Consecutive Year

Private giving to the University of Wyoming exceeded $40 million for the fiscal year ending June 30. It is the second year in a row—and the first time in UW history—that the UW Foundation raised more than $40 million in private support in consecutive years.

Private giving to UW totaled $40.1 million from 23,551 contributors, including key gifts from Ultra Petroleum, Baker Hughes, Marathon Oil, the Watt Foundation, the Ellbogen Foundation, Harry Konkel, Marvin Millgate and the Rentschler family.  UW’s giving total includes $11.5 million in estate gifts and more than $5 million in annual giving. Support for Wyoming Public Radio and the Cowboy Joe Club are accounted for in UW’s gift total.

“Another remarkable year that reflects the generosity of UW’s alumni and friends who join the university’s corporate and foundation partners in a commitment to excellence,” says UW Foundation President Ben Blalock. “Now surpassing $40 million for two consecutive years repositions UW’s private support programs. It is humbling to witness the pride that the UW family takes in elevating Wyoming’s university to new heights each and every year.”

In the coming year, the university will focus fundraising efforts on new state-match opportunities and on institutional fundraising priorities as defined by the UW Board of Trustees and UW President Tom Buchanan.  Those priorities include energy, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), Arena-Auditorium renovations and the performing arts.

This year, the UW Foundation is celebrating 50 years of dynamic partnership with UW.

UW Sponsors Basketball Camps on Wind River Reservation

The University of Wyoming helped bring a basketball legend home to the Wind River Reservation this summer to share her skills with about 300 area youngsters.

Tahnee Rose Robinson—the first American Indian and Wyoming-born player drafted into the United States’ only professional women’s basketball league following a tumultuous yet outstanding collegiate career that began at UW and ended at the University of Nevada—led one-day camps in Arapahoe, Ethete and Fort Washakie for children in grades 4-9.

Robinson, who played professionally last season in Israel after she was cut by the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, uses the sport she learned to play on a dirt court near Lander to encourage and inspire Native youth.
In addition to starring on the basketball court, Robinson is a national spokesperson for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Let’s Move! In Indian Country, an initiative created by the Obama administration to address obesity issues facing young American Indian and Alaska Natives, as well as an athlete ambassador for the Nike N7, the first shoe designed specifically to fit the distinct foot shape of American Indians.

The Wind River camps, sponsored by the UW Division of Social Work and WyoCARE, a state-funded prevention, education and treatment program coordinated through UW, also included an appearance by Kenny Dobbs, a Choctaw who is considered the greatest living street-ball dunker.

UW Foundation Welcomes New Leadership

Clayton Hartman and Scott Neu assumed the top leadership roles on the University of Wyoming Foundation Board of Directors in July.

Hartman, senior vice president of investments for UBS Financial Services in Fort Collins, Colo., succeeds Cheyenne’s Greg Dyekman as chair of the board that meets three times annually to guide the UW Foundation in its mission.

Neu, vice president of the Investment Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Company in Atlanta and a former UW student body president, will fill Hartman’s former position of vice chair.

“Exceptional leaders are required to guide such a distinguished team as the UW Foundation,” says Ben Blalock, president of the UW Foundation. “It has been a privilege and pleasure for me to work closely with Clayton and Scott on UW’s behalf now for many years, and the UW Foundation will benefit greatly from the expertise that Clayton and Scott bring to their board leadership roles.”

The board also welcomed two new members: Chad Deaton, executive director of Baker Hughes, Inc., and Greg Hill, executive vice president for Hess Corporation. Both are UW graduates.






News Updates


Marci Crank and Kyle Ridgeway earned one of the UW College of Law’s greatest achievements in March with a second-place showing at the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Student Client Counseling Competition. The UW duo from Casper lost by a single point to Christine Baughman and Audrey Johnson of the University of Nebraska in the largest of the ABA’s four annual national lawyering skills competitions.


Vonnie Jenkin, a computer support specialist in the College of Law, was honored in April as UW’s Employee of the Year for 2011. A 1994 graduate of Northwest College in Powell, Jenkin was selected from among the four Employee of the Quarter recipients.


The UW College of Education has joined Operation Educate the Educator, an effort initiated through the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education to prepare educators to better meet the needs of dependents of military service members.


UW Extension employees Tara Kuipers and Milt Geiger were selected for the Casper Star-Tribune’s 2012 class of Twenty Under 40. The newspaper’s annual list recognizes 20 inspiring people whose talents and hard work are helping to build Wyoming.

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