Nick Sutcliffe

Dear Readers,

It took a fellow alumnus months to convince Bill McElduff ’82 that the role he and his colleague, Donal Fitterer MS ’88, played in completing the bottom kill of the blown out Macondo oil well would be of interest to readers of Mines magazine. Listening to Bill’s voicemail, it took me all of 10 seconds to decide it would be. Read ‘Plugging Macondo,’ and I think you’ll agree.

‘Sourcing Rare Earths and Critical Minerals’ discusses how researchers and professors at Mines are tackling the international concerns about China’s near monopoly on the supply of rare earths. These concerns were recently inflamed by an announcement on Dec. 28 that the country would be cutting exports by 30 percent in 2011.

Shifting from rare earths to a profile of a rare individual, ‘A Determined Justice’ focuses on the life of Terry Fox ’89, who grew up the daughter of a migrant farm worker. Despite the disruptions to her early education caused by constantly moving, she worked hard and performed well academically. After attending Mines, she earned a Juris Doctorate and launched a highly successful legal career, which has led to one of the most influential legal positions in the state with her recent appointment to judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals.

There is plenty of other content to interest you in this issue: Inside Mines includes details of a new intercollegiate mine safety competition held at Mines this year. We also report on career day, the new student health facility soon to be built, and the induction of three individuals into the 13-school Golden Buffalo Battalion Army ROTC Hall of Fame. New Frontiers reports on some interesting experimental technology for landmine detection, and Spotlight profiles Rod Eggert, whose expertise on rare earths has put him in high demand lately.

Turning to the back pages, don’t miss the letter from the new president of the alumni association, John Howe ’83, which discusses structural changes in the functions of board members. The first of two profiles focuses on Dick Banks ’53, who spends countless hours each year sharing his passion for cycling with elementary students through a church-sponsored Bike Club he established 15 years ago. Equally inspiring, our profile of John Grubb PhD ’08 recounts how an adjunct professor in the Mining Engineering Department is fulfilling a lifelong ambition to teach after retiring from a long and successful career in the mining industry.

There is more online-only content on the Mines magazine website than ever before. We recently launched a new podcast, started posting video content and redesigned the entire site, so stop by and take a look. Finally, many thanks for the complimentary feedback concerning the fall/winter issue. It was a fun edition to put together, and we were delighted with the positive response. Lastly, the readership survey mentioned in the last issue is still in the pipeline, we plan to send it out via email before the end of May. Please take a few moments to respond when it arrives, we truly value your opinion.

Nick Sutcliffe
Editor and Director of Communications
Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association