KU News Release

April 13, 2012
Contact: Lisa Scheller, KU Endowment, 785-832-7398

Gift for $5M to advance energy and environment research at KU

More Information

LAWRENCE — Chesapeake Energy Corporation, based in Oklahoma City, has pledged a $5 million gift to fund an interactive high-tech auditorium to anchor the new $28 million Energy and Environment Center at the University of Kansas. The center, a future addition to Lindley Hall, will create a unique team approach to teaching the next generation of geologists, engineers and environmental scientists.

The 40,000-square-foot expansion at the corner of Naismith Drive and Jayhawk Boulevard will be funded by private gifts raised through KU Endowment. In the past six months, KU alumni and friends have already committed $17 million toward its construction.

Chesapeake’s pledge ensures the advanced interactive auditorium will be one of the most technologically sophisticated classrooms in the nation. The KU Energy and Environment Center and the interactive auditorium will be designed to provide an enriching, stimulating academic environment to prepare KU students for positions in the energy industry.

“As a KU graduate, I am particularly pleased to present this pledge from Chesapeake to move the center closer to becoming a reality,” said Steve Dixon, Chesapeake chief operating officer and executive vice president of Operations and Geoscience. “Environmental responsibility is taken seriously at Chesapeake, and we constantly seek to enhance our techniques and processes to promote safe and continuously improving exploration and production. We look forward to the discoveries, insights and ideas that will emerge from the students in this program, ideas that will help Chesapeake meet the challenges posed by the increased demand for energy around the globe. We consider this pledge an investment in our industry’s future leaders and in the advancement of America’s vibrant energy industry, as well as an extension of the successful relationship we have with KU and our commitment to the state of Kansas.”

University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little expressed appreciation, noting the pledge will help carry out KU’s strategic initiative: Sustaining the Planet, Powering the World. “This will heighten research opportunities at KU to address critical energy and environmental issues today and in the future,” she said. “Ultimately, this pledge will benefit Kansas and the world as we strive to produce energy to fuel growing global economies while improving sustainability practices.”

Danny Anderson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said Chesapeake’s pledge will help develop 21st century energy solutions. “It will create a cutting-edge, highly interactive learning space that provides an opportunity to co-train engineers, geologists and environmental scientists,” said Anderson.

The pledge will be part of Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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