LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming's energy programs continued their speedy march forward as UW yesterday announced a $2 million gift to support energy research and academics from Ultra Petroleum Corp.
A $15 million state matching program for gifts from the energy sector will double the amount to $4 million. UW called the program "transformational in elevating UW's partnership with the energy industry" in a release.
The CEO of Ultra Petroleum, Michael Watford, pointed out that this is the second gift the Houston-based company has made to the university, demonstrating a commitment to the public-private partnership that is strengthening UW. The newer gift doubles the $1 million gift from 2009 that was used to fund the Ultra Petroleum Visiting Chair of Energy.
"The joining of resources promotes leading research and provides amazing opportunities for students in Wyoming," Gov. Matt Mead said in a release.
The gift will not be the last from the energy sector, even in the near future. Mead will recognize Ultra's gift Friday in the Capitol Rotunda during a special announcement at 10 a.m. that will simultaneously announce another "significant corporate partnership to support UW's energy programs," according to UW. Watch for more on the announcement in Wyoming Business Report's Friday eDaily.
"This is an exceptional example of how industry, the university and the state can create vital and meaningful public-private partnerships," said UW President Tom Buchanan.
This gift builds on the momentum the university has with its new Energy Innovation Center and its under-construction Energy Engineering Research Facility. The Energy Innovation Center features high-tech features including a virtual environment allowing students and researchers to explore modeled 3-D spaces almost as if they were there.
It also features a drilling simulator
that will closely mimic real-world drilling experience for UW students.
"A number of oil companies do the same thing," said David Bagley, head of the UW Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. "It's really a good way to train people. Drilling now has become so much more advanced."
In similar news, Casper College recently received a $1 million match pledge
from a private donor to support the first phase of its master plan.
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