Sep 292005
Authors: Vimal Patel

Calling it the biggest news in CSU history, college officials announced Thursday that alumnus Edward Warner has donated $30 million to the College of Natural Resources, which has been renamed the Warner College of Natural Resources.

The donation is the largest in CSU history, said CSU President Larry Penley, adding that it may be the largest ever to a natural resources college.

Warner, who graduated in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in geology, said it was his time at CSU that made him focus his life on science.

"I was a young man with very shaky foundations," he said to the estimated 600 students, faculty and community members gathered at west side of the Natural Resources building for the morning unveiling. "What I found at CSU changed my life."

Describing himself as a "classic underachiever," Warner said it was CSU faculty, especially the nine members of the geology department, who opened his eyes to the world of science.

"They taught me what science really meant," he said. "Some of them didn't like my New York personality and proceeded to try to change it, and they succeeded."

It was because of their glowing recommendations that he was accepted to UCLA and Stanford University, and eventually attended UCLA, where he earned a master's in geology.

Warner went on to work for Shell Oil Company and Amoco Production Company, where his research focused on producing natural gas from coal seams. With a $1 million budget, Warner helped to tap a previously unused energy source that led to the discovery of large gas fields in the San Juan, Raton, Piceance, Powder River and Green River basins, according to a press release. These fields contain about five to 10 percent of the country's reserves, he said.

Although financially well off, to say the least, Warner said he was perfectly content without the cash.

"We were broke (yet) we had a wonderful life," he said of his family. "I was doing geology, the work that I love, and that's all that mattered.

"Not that financial success is a bad thing," he added.

Warner also said that science is on the "tipping point" in the movement of cooperative and collaborative conservation, yet warned the government not to overstep its boundaries.

"Government agencies have to learn how to treat land owners with respect…sometimes good intentions lead to bad consequences," he said.

Joyce Berry , dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources, quoted Gifford Pinchot, former USDA Forest Service chief and two-time governor: "A nation deprived of its liberty may win it; a nation divided may reunite; but a nation whose natural resources are destroyed must inevitably pay the penalty of poverty, degradation and decay."

Warner is passionate about supporting the next generation of CSU students, Penley said.

"A gift of this kind…will ensure that our students have the depth of knowledge to deal with global environmental issues," Penley said. "A gift of this magnitude will certainly change CSU."

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