A 1976 alumnus has contributed $5 million anonymously to Colorado School of Mines to support the university’s Underground Construction and Tunneling Program and to provide scholarships for undergraduate students. A total of $3.5 million will go to faculty support, $1 million will be used for startup, and $500,000 for undergraduate scholarships.
In 2011, the university established the Center for Underground Construction and Tunneling as an interdisciplinary program, principally between the departments of mining engineering, geology and geological engineering, and civil and environmental engineering. Academic programs and research within the center provide student training and education related to site characterization; design and construction of underground infrastructures, including water, highway or subway tunnels; and subsurface facilities beneath major metropolitan cities.
“The underground construction and tunneling industry relies on a highly skilled engineering workforce and technical innovation that is only possible through interdisciplinary research and education,” says Mike Mooney, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and acting director of the center, explaining that the challenges of underground construction are getting increasingly complex.
The gift will enable the center to diversify its educational opportunities, which currently include industry-driven research, field trips, technical conferences and internships with industry professionals. Along with the undergraduate minor and ‘area of specialization’ offered at the moment, a graduate degree program is now under development.