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S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation Gives $5 Million to Natural Resources

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008

USU President Stan Albrecht welcomed the Very Reverend Rick Lawson

USU President Stan Albrecht welcomed Rick Lawson of the S.J. and Jessie Quinney Foundation to campus Feb. 12. Lawson announced a $5 million gift to USU's College of Natural Resources.

Quinney Fellow Andrew Rayburn talks with Herb Livsey.

Quinney Fellow Andrew Rayburn, right, talks with Quinney Foundation board member Herb Livsey.

The S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation formally announced its donation of $5 million to Utah State University’s College of Natural Resources during a Feb. 12 campus gathering.
The announcement was made by The Very Reverend Frederick Q. “Rick” Lawson, grandson of the late S.J. “Joe” and Jessie Quinney and a foundation trustee, at a luncheon celebrating the family’s longstanding support of the college and the university.

“I remember my grandparents’ vision for Utah and their vision for USU’s College of Natural Resources,” said Lawson, who recounted childhood visits to Logan and the Utah State campus. “They wanted the people of Utah and the world to be able to enjoy and protect the state’s natural resources and pass them on to future generations.”

USU President Stan L. Albrecht said gifts made by the family and foundation “allow Utah State to become a great university.”

He noted that today’s gift announcement raises support received from the Quinney family and its foundation to nearly $22 million. Much of that support has funded student scholarships.

“If you look at this list of students (in today’s program) you’ll see the incredible impact the foundation has had on literally several generations,” Albrecht said.

Luncheon speaker Thad Box, CNR dean from 1970-89, said Joe Quinney made his first gift to the college in 1970.

“Joe told me he didn’t want the money spent on things; he wanted it to be spent on people, programs and ideas,” Box said. “He wanted to make Utah a better place.”

Speaker Fee Busby, professor in the Department of Wildland Resources and another former dean, said the Quinney Foundation’s faithful support “has made the college immeasurably better.”

“(Saying) ‘thank you’ is never sincere enough,” Busby said. “But I offer my most sincere thanks for all the family and foundation has done for the college.”

About $2 million of the gift will provide continued funding for the Quinney Scholars program in USU’s College of Natural Resources. Established in 1989, the program has provided scholarships to more than 200 undergraduate students and fellowships to 50 doctoral students. The new gift enables the college to also offer fellowships to master’s students.

Featured speaker Amanda Murray, a doctoral student and Quinney Fellow, thanked the foundation “on behalf of all the undergraduate and graduate students who have benefited from the Quinney Scholars program.”

“These scholarships and fellowships are powerful recruitment tools for the college,” Murray said. “They allow students the freedom to pursue study and independent research.”

Murray, who is pursuing research on bighorn sheep on Utah’s Antelope Island, called the research opportunities created by the foundation’s support “astonishing.”

“Especially those opportunities created for undergraduates,” she said. “It will give them a real leg up on their career path.”
The next largest portion of the gift – $1.2 million – will go to the college’s S.J. and Jessie E. Natural Resources Quinney Library. Established in 1992, the library houses more than 60,000 items and supports the programs and research of the college’s academic departments, institutes and centers.
The remainder of the Quinney Foundation gift supports the college’s program development in Bioregional Planning, the Aspen Alliance, Utah’s Rivers and Riparian Restoration, Sustainable Living in Utah and Great Basin Restoration, along with the college’s Academic Service Center, distance education programs and technological facilities.
“This gift will be redeemed as we create opportunities for students and as we pursue discoveries that change the very quality of our lives,” said Nat B. Frazer, CNR dean. “We express our humble appreciation for the foundation’s support and the trust it reflects.”
Both Joe and Jessie Quinney were alums of USU, then known as the Agricultural College of Utah. Joe earned a degree in 1916; Jessie in 1917. Joe subsequently completed studies at Harvard Law School and opened the Salt Lake City law firm of Ray, Quinney and Nebeker, which continues to administer his and Jessie’s namesake foundation.
Passionate supporters of Utah’s educational and cultural endeavors, as well as its natural resources, Joe and Jessie generously donated their time and resources to a variety of causes. Joe was a founder of Utah’s famous Alta Ski Resort which, he was proud to say, converted land used and abandoned by one industry into another of equal value to society.

USU’s College of Natural Resources includes the academic departments of Environment and Society, Watershed Sciences and Wildland Resources.

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Contact: Jon Paulding [], 801-541-2630
Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto [], 435-797-1429

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