Company’s Investment Benefits Geosciences Students
Pioneer Natural Resources Gives $600,000 to Enhance Geosciences Opportunities

Pioneer Development Gift 2011

A $600,000 gift from Irving-based Pioneer Natural Resouces will elevate UT Dallas’ geosciences program. Shown are (from left): UT Dallas President David E. Daniel, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dean Bruce M. Novak, Geosciences Department Head John Oldow and David Williamson, a 1998 UT Dallas graduate who is now a senior geologist at Pioneer.

When it comes to educating geoscientists, the outdoors offers the best classroom.

A $600,000 gift from Irving-based Pioneer Natural Resources will allow the Department of Geosciences in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to send more UT Dallas students to outdoor laboratories.

Student opportunities include exploring the geographic wonders of New Mexico and Colorado, and cross-country trips to examine the tectonic processes that formed the western United States.

Pioneer’s contribution will elevate several aspects of the geosciences program, which immerses students in the study of the composition, structure and history of the Earth and the universe.

Ten students will receive support for a fast-track degree option, which consolidates the time it would take to receive both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Some of the funds will be used for graduate student field-based research, including mapping a range of geologic features in several settings.

Chris Cheatwood

Chris Cheatwood is executive vice president at Pioneer, which employs numerous UT Dallas alumni.

Each summer, about 40 undergraduate students will receive support to pursue research in field geology courses in New Mexico, Colorado and the western Great Basin.

“The basis for Pioneer’s decision to donate to the Department of Geosciences is two-fold,” explained David Sanders, manager of corporate geosciences at Pioneer. “First, we have a shared history with UT Dallas geosciences. In fact, 10 years ago, Pioneer’s first entry-level geoscience college hire was from UT Dallas. Today, we have numerous UT Dallas alumni working in multiple disciplines across our hydrocarbon-producing assets.

“The second reason is forward-looking as we are in agreement with the geoscience vision set forth by Geosciences Department Chair Dr. John Oldow.”

For Oldow, Pioneer’s gift will provide welcome resources for students.

“This is an historic gift for our program and it will allow us the opportunity to greatly enhance the educational and research experience for our students,” he said. “We cannot thank Pioneer enough for their investment in our vision to build a world-class geosciences program at UT Dallas.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].