Major Investments Enhance Student Opportunities

By Jill Blevins  |  August 31, 2013

In 2010, Irving-based Pioneer Natural Resources committed $600,000 to elevate several aspects of the geosciences program — a curriculum focused on immersing students in the study of the composition, structure and history of the Earth and the universe. To date, this commitment has generated an additional $125,000 through matching gift programs from the state of Texas and The University of Texas System Board of Regents. Pioneer made a new commitment for an additional $600,000 in 2013, with $450,000 directed toward the geosciences department and the remainder divided between mathematical sciences and geospatial sciences.

As an industry leader, Pioneer knows a thorough, immersive education is imperative to the next generation of geologists. A
portion of Pioneer’s funds has been dedicated to advancing field studies and research programs and to revamping and upgrading instructional and research infrastructure. Additionally, the funds support 10 students electing to complete fast-track degrees, consolidating the time it would take to receive both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The impact of Pioneer’s investment will be further accelerated thanks to a new $1 million commitment from The Miles Foundation of Fort Worth. The grant will establish the Ellison Miles Geological Field Studies Center and further enhance the field research capacity of students and faculty.

The gift will be mainly used to design, build and equip a mobile research laboratory, allowing students and faculty access to
geologic data and satellite imagery from even the most remote field course sites and to provide acquisition, analysis and visualization tools needed to solve complex geologic problems. Data gathered in the field will be used to explore further research in the center’s laboratory facilities at UT Dallas.

Ellison Miles was a Texas energy pioneer, successful businessman and philanthropist dedicated to bettering education. The foundation he established supports educational programming and institutions promoting the advancement of learning in science, technology, engineering and math.