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February 6, 2009
By John Trent
During a time when budgets are tight and replacing aging inventory with new machinery can be next to impossible, the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering recently received a vehicular windfall that should be of benefit to students for several years to come.
Barrick Gold Corporation of North America recently donated two vehicles, a Ford F250 crew-cab truck and a Ford 12-passenger van, to Mackay when the company learned that the school’s fleet of vehicles was aging and in need of replacement.
The Mackay School is an academic and research unit within the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Science.
“The value of these donations is in some ways invaluable,” said Rachel Dolbier, administrator of the W.M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum and one of the Mackay faculty members who helped transport the vehicles from Barrick’s northern Nevada mining operation in Elko to Reno last month. “We’ve had an increase in numbers of students in courses such as Geology 100, where the instructors use our vehicles for field trips.
“In the earth sciences, we’re very dependent on field trips, because you can’t just teach geology in a classroom. We have a challenge that some other departments might not have.”
Enter Barrick Gold.
During a recent Mackay advisory board meeting, the school’s need for newer vehicles was mentioned by Mackay Director James Taranik to the board. Greg Lang, a member of the Mackay advisory board and the President and CEO for North American Operations for Barrick, which is considered by many to be the world’s pre-eminent producer of gold and silver, stepped up to the plate.
“Greg Lang said he would see what he could do,” Dolbier said. “Barrick came forward in a big way. We were only expecting one vehicle … and they donated two to us.”
Both vehicles are about three years old. The truck is perfect for hauling equipment for field work, while the van can comfortably handle students from the various courses involved with learning about minerals and other areas of the earth sciences.
“The vans are great for things for taking the students to Hunter Creek to look at sandstone, or to Lake Tahoe to look at landslides and fault scarps,” Dolbier said.