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Foundation Giving

Foundations have made a lasting impact on Wyoming’s students and the colleges, programs, and facilities that support them. Student by student, foundation-supported scholarships have built a wealth of human capital. Foundations give because it is part of their core mission—to make the world a better place.

Harry T. Thorson Foundation

A Wyoming family supports a century-long UW tradition. A $1 million gift from the Harry T. Thorson Foundation and by the family in memory of Tom Thorson, president of the Wyoming company Black Hills Bentonite LLC, supports UW’s Summer Field Camp, which has been training geologists for almost a century. “Tom loved his experience going to the Summer Field Camp, and it fostered a lifelong love of the outdoors and for Wyoming,” says Tom’s sister, Mary Thorson Gullikson. The camp is a required six-credithour six-week summer class. This course is a comprehensive and nationally recognized experiential learning opportunity that provides a professional and broad introduction to geologic field techniques—the culmination of a student’s geological education.

John P. Ellbogen Foundation

Today, ethics are more important than ever. A $600,000 gift from the John P. Ellbogen Foundation supports the College of Business’s new Center for Principle-Based Leadership and Ethics. The center will support and connect leadership and ethics efforts on campus and throughout the state through the support of faculty and director positions. “Promoting and developing strong leadership and ethics have far-reaching impacts for not only University of Wyoming students but also the communities they serve,” says Ellbogen Foundation President Mary Ellbogen Garland. “It will set the stage for success in their future careers.” The amazing generosity of the Ellbogen Foundation has supported programs across all UW colleges.

Joe and Arlene Watt Foundation

Invasive grasses threaten Wyoming rangelands. A $1 million gift, including state match, from the Joe and Arlene Watt Foundation supports IMAGINE, a UW program that provides collaborative applied and fundamental research and hands-on educational opportunities to combat invasive grass species and restore healthy Wyoming landscapes. IMAGINE, or the Institute for Managing Annual Grasses Invading Natural Ecosystems, is an initiative of the UW College of Agriculture, Life Sciences, and Natural Resources’s Sheridan Research and Extension Center. It’s timely—in 2020, Governor Mark Gordon’s Invasive Species Initiative delivered its final report with recommendations that IMAGINE will address. “Wyoming’s grasslands and wildlife are some of our most important resources,” says Richard Hammer, Watt Foundation. 


Katrina McGee

Katrina McGee

Director of Foundation Development
Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center
307-766-4266 |

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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