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UTEP alumni pledges $1 million to university
By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas
A former UTEP student pledges an extremely generous gift to his alma mater.
In turn, he hopes the program that propelled him into success will do the same for others.
"I was a family of fairly meager means and I got a couple of scholarships and they really enabled me to get a lot more out of my education," said James Cearley, a UTEP alumni.
Cearley and his wife have pledged a generous donation to James' alma mater.
"I really hope that the pledge that my wife and I have done will really enable a lot more students to get out into the natural laboratory that is the Franklin Mountains and surrounding desert southwest," Cearley said.
They pledged a gift of $1 million to UTEP's department of geological sciences.
"You never know when you meet with potential donors how much of a transformation they'll give to a program that they can help us build and it's just been incredible," said Robert Kirken, dean of UTEP's College of Science.
Kirken feels the funds will be motivation.
"The gift itself is really centered around creating opportunities for students to work out in the field," Kirken said.
University President Dr. Diana Natalicio said current university funds enable them to do day-to-day work, but not invest in the future.
"We're able to enrich the educational experience for students, we're able to create new research directions, we're able to launch new program initiatives," Natalicio said.
"It gives us the opportunity to go out and do amazing things at the same level as the other tier 1 schools throughout the nation," said Doug Standart, a Ph.D. candidate at UTEP.
Cearley is recently retired after working for Chevron for more than 30 years.
He credits much of his success to the place his training all began.
"I'm able to give back to the community that enabled me to get the education that I did. And it really will transform lives, is what I hope," Cearley said.