University of Oregon's Volcanology Department Gets $10 Million Donation

Jul 13, 2016

Credit University of Oregon

The study of volcanology at the University of Oregon got a $10 million gift on Monday.


The donation will allow the department to focus on studying active volcanoes and the hazards they present.

This money comes from Oregon’s Board of Trustees Chair Chuck Lillis and his wife, Gwen. The Lillises are longtime donors of the U of O — having donated $12 million to help fund the Lillis Business Complex in 1999.

Paul Wallace, the chairman of the earth sciences department, says the money will help provide more classes, training and opportunities to participate in research programs.

“We have major research programs in volcanology where we can train students to go on and work with the US Geological Survey and other agencies and so forth," says Wallace.

Wallace adds the money will allow them to hire two new faculty. The goal is to diversify the program and design multi-disciplinary volcanic studies.

“It would really give us a critical mass of people doing different types of volcanology that will help us to compete better for large research grants from the National Science Foundation, from NASA and other federal agencies," says Wallace.

This donation from the Lillis family comes less than two weeks after Wallace’s first day on the job.

“You can’t have a better first day on the job as a department head,” says Wallace.

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