The University of Texas at El Paso will receive two gifts presented by UTEP alumnus Allen L. Gilmer and his wife, Riki Rushing.
The Kenneth F. and Patricia Clark Distinguished Chair Endowment is a $1 million gift to benefit the economic geology program at the Center for Entrepreneurial Geosciences in UTEP’s Department of Geological Sciences. The program provides students with real-world experience in mineral and energy exploration.
The endowment will allow UTEP to recruit an economic geologist to expand student opportunities and increase departmental connections with the industry.
“The goal of the Kenneth F. and Patricia Clark Distinguished Chair Endowment is to re-establish UTEP’s Economic Geology program as an important player in the exciting new world of the emerging digital age and internet of things era, which will require an increase in raw materials and strategic minerals to carry out,” Gilmer said.
The gift is in honor of Kenneth F. Clark, UTEP professor emeritus of geological sciences, who Gilmer credits as the most influential teacher and mentor in his life, and his late wife, Patricia Clark.
Additionally, Gilmer, in partnership with fellow UTEP alumnus Frank Hsu, Ph.D., Clavius Distinguished Professor of Science at Fordham University in New York, and a founding father of big data, also announced the establishment of the UTEP Data Science and Informatics Gift Fund.
The fund will contribute to the expansion of the Data Science and Informatics program at UTEP. Informatics is the study of big data. Gilmer and Hsu together will match any gift made to the fund up to $100,000 in hopes of encouraging other alumni to donate.
“The College of Science is in a unique and excellent position to launch this initiative, which will foster the formation of a nexus for knowledge discovery from diverse disciplines and professionals within and outside UTEP,” Hsu said.
“Allen Gilmer is the embodiment of a proud UTEP Miner,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “Since graduating from the University with his master’s degree in 1987, he has remained steadfastly committed and connected to the University through his sustained service on the College of Science Advisory Board and his many efforts to advance UTEP, and especially the Department of Geological Sciences. The added faculty expertise and resources made possible by Allen and Riki Gilmer’s generous gifts will provide UTEP students with many additional opportunities to enhance their education at UTEP and in their future careers.”
Gilmer is co-founder of Drillinginfo, a data analytics company for energy exploration decision support that is a leading provider of cloud-based data and analytics software for the oil and gas industry. He also serves as the company’s executive chairman. Gilmer was named one of UTEP’s Distinguished Alumni in 2017.