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Game-changing gift

Geosciences receives the largest donation in program history

Every new semester comes with surprises. Three weeks into the fall 2018 semester, students and faculty in the geosciences program got one of their biggest surprises to date when they were notified of a nearly $600,000 gift from an anonymous donor.

“It’s the biggest donation we’ve ever received,” said Professor of Geology Andres Aslan, PhD.

He said it’s a game changer in the sense that it really allows the department the ability to provide students with the “red-carpet treatment.”

CMU’s geosciences program is field-based, with students and faculty taking advantage of Grand Junction’s spectacular geologic setting for training and research. While the department won’t likely feel the palpable benefits of the money until sometime later this year, Aslan said it will be used to provide students with opportunities they may not have had otherwise.

“We envision money from this donation being used to provide students with the ability to take their research a step further — to supplement their research and to operate at a more professional level,” said Aslan.

Two scholarships have already been set up and the donation will also be used to fund field trips, laboratory work, research and professional development.

“[The donor] said something to the effect that they had a great experience when they were studying geology in college and they wanted to help other students have a similar experience,” Aslan said.

The donor also cited the department’s newsletter as a reason for the gift, which was started in 2013 by fellow Instructor of Geology Larry Jones, PhD. The newsletter is sent to peers, faculty colleagues, current and past students, and interested community members every semester with news regarding the geosciences program, students and alumni.

“I think that newsletter helped precipitate this donation,” Aslan said. “It’s nice to see people taking note in a more substantive way of what we’re doing here at CMU. It makes us feel like there are people who are appreciating what we do in ways that we think of as business as usual.”

News of the donation quickly moved around campus including the desk of university President Tim Foster.

“I have the privilege of being involved in many exciting projects and initiatives for students, but generosity like this inspires me the most. So many donors give so much and ask for so little in return. It’s what makes my job rewarding and special,” said Foster.

Read the geosciences program newsletter online at



Written by Cloie Sandlin