With a toast of chicken-noodle soup, University of Utah President Chase N. Peterson and Kennecott Corp. President G. Frank Joklik celebrated Thursday the announcement of a $1.25 million gift by the copper giant, which will give the U. 40 undergraduate scholarships and restore a historic Fort Douglas building.
The announcement, in a joint press conference, came on Stilwell Field, the Fort Douglas parade field that soon will become U. property. The federal government will transfer 51 acres of the old fort to the U. on Oct. 1. The Department of Defense will keep 64 acres for use by military reserve units.The unusual choice for the toast came, Peterson related, because it was the drink that Joklik said he preferred when the two first met one year ago to consider Thursday's donation.
The Kennecott chief executive officer said his company decided upon the scholarships because it sought a way to contribute to the quest for excellence in education and was also attracted by Peterson's vision "that saw the University of Utah firmly established as the institution of choice for the region's best and brightest undergraduates."
Joklik said Kennecott will provide $1 million over 10 years for the scholarships. Known as the Kennecott Scholarships, they will be awarded universitywide, but about one-half will be targeted for the technical disU.Continued from 1
ciplines, with special consideration given to students in the U. College of Mines and Earth Sciences.
"Kennecott's success has been based on the application of state-of-the-art technology, and the availability of highly trained and educated professionals and engineers is critical to our future," Joklik said.
Kennecott also will donate $250,000 to completely restore, upgrade and furnish Building 11 on the fort's historic Officers Circle so that it reflects an officer's residence of 1875.
The U. will rename the sandstone building the Kennecott House. The Kennecott House will be used as a limited residence, study center and meeting house for Kennecott Scholarship recipients, Joklik said.
The U. also will designate the eastern portion of the Officers Circle as Kennecott Circle.
Joklik told the Deseret News that, in the next few months, after the U. determines the use of the other 10 structures on Kennecott Circle, the firm may be willing to commit additional money to their restoration. However, that eventuality will depend upon the university and Kennecott having common goals, he said.
A U. task force is studying possible uses for the fort property but has not made its recommendations yet.
Peterson called Kennecott's gift "an extraordinary moment, just as the fort is extraordinary in the development of the West."
He noted that Col. Patrick Edward Connor, the fort's first commander and father of Utah mining, "advanced the exploration, assayed the first ore and organized the first mining company based on discoveries in Bingham Canyon, eventually to become Kennecott."
Fort Douglas was established in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln. It served as a link between the east and west coasts and also protected the Overland mail route. It was named in commemoration of Sen. Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln's presidential opponent who died the year before the fort was established.