Vehicle donation to help Mackay students

1/6/2010 - By: John Trent

Greg Arehart knows that his specialty, geologic sciences, is more than a lab-based endeavor.

To truly understand the discipline, Arehart, chair of the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering in the College of Science’s Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, says that students must travel into the field. They must not only observe. They must also touch and feel and truly experience the various properties and defining characteristics of rocks and their accompanying geologic features.

“Geology really is a field-based science,” Arehart says, “and we are always taking students to places that require rugged vehicles. We are always in need of new vehicles to keep giving students the field experiences that make our department, and discipline, well-known.”

In Arehart’s experience, getting to out-of-the-way, far-afield locations can take a toll on the vehicles used. “The vehicles can get used up pretty fast,” he says.

That’s why Arehart and his colleagues in the Mackay School recently were excited upon receiving the good news that alumna Opal Adams and her husband, Rich DeLong, were donating a 2007 Ford Expedition. The couple, founder of Enviroscientists, Inc., made the announcement in late November after an advisory board meeting for Arehart’s department.

The vehicle is worth about $30,000, but more importantly, will help students in Geological Sciences and Engineering further their understanding of one of the world’s most important fields.

“My reaction was that this is wonderful,” Arehart says. “Opal and Rich have been great supporters of our department through the years. Opal currently serves on our department advisory board, which is where this idea germinated for her. She’s done a lot for our students over the years, and this is the latest example of her generosity and her love of our school.”

The donation has already earned raves from College of Science Dean Jeff Thompson, who in addition to his accomplishments as a university administrator and professor of physics, is a well-known car enthusiast.

“You couldn’t ask for a better donation,” Thompson said. “In the College of Science, we take a lot of pride in giving our students the best possible experiential education. You can’t study Geological Sciences and Engineering without getting out in the field and studying it up close and personal. The Ford Expedition will allow our faculty and students to do that, and then some.”


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