Interview with Lee J. Suttner, Campaign Chair
Question: Why was the campaign theme "Touching the Heart, Inspiring the Mind" chosen?
Dr. Suttner: "When Dr. Priscilla Nelson, Provost and Senior Vice–President of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, accepted the Department’s distinguished Owen Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements of its alumni, she commented on how her experience in Montana touched her heart and inspired her mind in ways that still impact her today.
In visiting with our alumni I often hear essentially the same feelings expressed. A successful endowment campaign will ensure that this heart–touching and mind–inspiring experience will be available to students in perpetuity. "
Question: But why begin a campaign during such difficult economic times?
Dr. Suttner: "We did not have a clear economic crystal ball when the strategy was defined and the foundation laid for the campaign nearly two years ago. But we were aware of the dual crises affecting geosciences education in the field, namely the dramatic reduction over the past two decades in number of field courses being taught nation–wide and the equally dramatic reduction in number of students who have taken an immersive geoscience course in the field entering the nation’s work force.
This will have serious consequences in the energy industry, which is projecting a major overturn in its workforce in the next decade. However, out of crisis flows opportunity for our Montana program.
Indiana University has the faculty, facility, reputation and experience to be the premier and primary provider of geosciences courses in the field. It can assume a leadership position in the training of the workforce that will be responsible for the nation’s search for, and environmentally sound recovery of its energy and other natural resources.
However, to do so the University needs additional help."
Question: Why additional help?
Dr. Suttner: "Because the University is firmly committed to supporting our Montana program, but it cannot do all that is needed to ensure the highest level of excellence.
Our summer advanced-level courses, like most advanced–level science courses taught on the Bloomington campus, do not break even; the University provides over $100,000 of annual support.
Moreover, in the last 3 years it has invested over $475,000 in upgrading of the Field Station infrastructure.
Significant additional capital improvements, increase in scholarship awards, and program development will require support from outside sources, including corporations, foundations, and individuals."
Question: How can individuals help?
Dr. Suttner: "The most obvious way, of course, is through an outright gift, 5–year non–binding pledge, bequest, or other form of estate planned gift.
But help is also needed in locating former students, most of whom did not receive degrees from Indiana University and cannot be found in its alumni data base.
We seek volunteers willing to look through a list of nearly 3500 names we have found on old registration and grade rosters, out of a total of over 4500 former students, and to give us information they might have about the location and employment of anyone they recognize.
Lastly, we invite strategic advice from anyone that will guide us toward successful completion of the campaign."