The historic $9.4 million agreement between AAPG and Oklahoma State University to create a GIS digital geology consortium has been officially finalized.
The consortium is the result of a donation from geologist, businessman and entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens to the AAPG Foundation – a gift designated to create the first consortium of its kind, which will produce digital GIS products through OSU’s geology and geography department and be made available to professionals and the public via AAPG’s intranet database.
The project also will benefit students by providing industry-specific research projects, which would be published in industry-friendly formats, enhancing their skill set and boosting their desirability as graduates.
The partnering agreement was signed at the OSU campus in Stillwater, Okla., shortly before Pickens’ appearance at the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Denver.
Pickens’ gift comprises $240,000 per year for 10 years, plus a gift of $7 million provided in his will as a legal testament. It is one of the largest single bequeaths the AAPG Foundation has ever received.
“We were looking for a way to bring (OSU and AAPG) together,” said AAPG Foundation Executive Director Rick Fritz, an OSU alumnus. “Boone’s primary interest is OSU, but he’s been a good, Active member of AAPG (since 1954).
“We realized the geography department had such a good GIS program we were actually looking at the time for a contractor and it was just a natural fit,” Fritz said. “We went to Boone, discussed it with him and he loved the idea.
“If education is the head of any university, I think research may be the heart,” Fritz continued. “All of the money in a way goes for research. A certain component goes to developing new research with the departments of geography and geology. The GIS component brings into the research the Society is doing and it is a unique opportunity between both a professional society and an educational institution.
“We look forward to a long relationship in this.”
“This is huge,” said Peter Sherwood, dean of OSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, adding he was pleased by the interdisciplinary nature of the project.
“This will help many students,” he said. “They will go into the work force with many new skills.”
Pickens’ bequeath, when announced last year, pushed the AAPG Foundation fund-raising campaign to $23 million toward a goal of $35 million. The Foundation supports educational, charitable and scientific objectives that directly and indirectly benefit the geologic professional and general public.
In other Foundation news, the Board of Trustees recently met in Dallas and approved funding requests for:
- $50,000 in support of the Santa Barbara Museum of History, to further digitizing of the late Tom Dibblee’s maps.
- $26,154 toward distribution of framed U.S. Geological Survey “Tapestry of Time Maps” to more than 180 schools, in collaboration with the More! Rocks in Your Head program.
- 3 $25,000 to support the AGI’s Earth Science Week program, “Understanding Climate.”
- $48,000 to support Oklahoma State University geological research and database construction of GIS-referenced databases by James Puckette and Jeffrey Byrnes.
The University of Kansas recently became the newest recipient of an AAPG Digital Products University Endowment Subscription through the AAPG Foundation, thanks to a generous gift from alums Dr. and Mrs. William L. Fisher.
The gift will provide access to AAPG’s digital library in perpetuity through the Foundation’s endowment program, providing over 600,000 pages of national, international and regional libraries with petroleum, geology and geophysics information.