Giving veterans a leg up

by | Apr 12, 2019 | Alumni Network, Spring 2019 | 0 comments

Bud Isaacs ’64 is familiar with the rigors of military service and a Mines education. As a member of ROTC as a student and then as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam War, Isaacs learned how to work hard and how to lead. After completing his service, these attributes helped him build a successful career in the oil and gas industry. Now, Isaacs is helping those with similar backgrounds by providing a scholarship for veterans attending Mines that covers the education expenses the GI Bill may not.

“As a vet and a big supporter of Mines, it made sense to me to fill that need. I am a patriot and I believe in supporting those folks who come out of the military and have a desire to go on and get more education,” Isaacs said. “I believe in giving a leg up, not a handout.”

Isaacs views his time at Mines and in the military as complementary experiences. As a student, he learned how to solve problems, a core skill he would take with him when he volunteered to serve in Vietnam. In addition, as a combat engineer with the 101st Airborne, he learned how to manage people and established sound work habits, characteristics he wants to support in other veterans who pursue an education at Mines.  

“I think the combination of military service and a Mines education creates strong leaders—not just engineers, not just scientists, but leaders who can go on and create something in the business world that supports many people,” Isaacs said. “They’ve had the basic training and discipline that one needs to get an engineering degree. To me, it’s leverage in the best sense. It’s leveraging the youth’s intellect and fire.”

After Isaacs suffered the loss of two of his family members, he realized how important it was to take out his required minimum distribution to support Mines. 

“I was the executor of their wills and they had all of their retirement funds tied up in an IRA, and that got taxed at the highest bracket,” Isaacs said. “I became very cognizant of what would happen with my IRA when I passed. The required minimum distributions became the best vehicle to use to fund programs at Mines, because I don’t have to pay income taxes on those funds.”

I worked as a fueler in the Marine Corps. While at home and abroad, I saw the impact that the oil and gas industry had on the world, and I decided I wanted to become a petroleum engineer. I liked the idea that I could be an engineer and still do hands-on field work, as I had come to love time in the field while in the military. I chose Mines because the culture of excellence found here is something that I had become accustomed to while in the Marines. To receive this scholarship from a fellow veteran is both humbling and motivating. I hope to one day be in a position to help veterans at Mines in the same way Mr. Isaacs has helped me.”

Michael McGuiness

Petroleum engineering, Class of 2019