Geologists! Give back
to your geology department! Your career was the result of effort
and expertise gained from your alma mater.
In North America this
message may be preaching to the choir — but in other parts of
the world, it is often a completely unheard of concept.
in most countries I have visited this year do not have alumni
associations, do not have advisory boards from industry and do
not have foundations to raise money for scholarships and endowed
In 1953, professor
Sam Ellison at the University of Texas at Austin and two earnest
alums, Slim Barrow and Morgan Davis, decided to put together an
Advisory Council composed of industry alums. This was not entirely
motivated by school spirit, but by a desire to have their alma
mater develop highest quality geologists for industry.
These alums were hiring
for their companies, and they wanted to hire the best.
This Advisory Council
made sure the university developed a strong program to keep in
touch with all graduates throughout their careers. When I left
that graduate program in the late 1960s, having benefited from
work scholarships and foundation funds, I was mentally committed
to "paying back" the school that gave me my career.
Yes, the geology department
benefits from getting their alums in this mind frame — but ultimately
our industry benefits even more. The UT-Austin department now
has the funding to provide for student thesis work, professor's
research, equipment, software, travel, a decent library and much
How? That original
Advisory Council would meet a couple of times a year with the
faculty and ask, "What do you need to do a better job?"
Once told, they would
set about trying to raise the money for the department's needs.
It took 30 years to raise the first million. Then, things got
exponential. The next couple of years developed to $10 million.
The following 10 years developed to $50 million.
Start your advisory
council today. Find your best alums … keep in touch with all
of your alums. Annual correspondence, newsletters and alumni parties
are a small investment. Invite alums back to the university often
This is a two-way
street that reaps benefits on both ends.