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$10 Million Quinney Gift leads to Re-naming of College of Natural Resources

Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2012

statue of Janet Quinney Lawson on the USU campus

A statue of Janet Quinney Lawson, daughter of S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney, graces USU's Natural Resources Building. The Quinney Foundation formally announces a major gift to the College of Natural Resources and unveils the college’s new name Sept. 26.

The S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation formally announced Wednesday, Sept. 26, its most recent donation of $10 million to Utah State University’s College of Natural Resources, and the university unveiled the college’s new name: the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources.

“This is indeed a momentous occasion and an opportunity to thank the Quinney family for its long-standing, generous and forward-thinking support of Utah State University,” said USU President Stan Albrecht.

The Quinney Foundation, which has made gifts to USU for more than 40 years, established the Quinney Scholars and Fellows program in 1989 to support undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships and seed grants in USU’s College of Natural Resources. The program has provided scholarships to nearly 300 undergrads and fellowships for 71 graduate students.

Gifts from the foundation also funded 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.

Additional Quinney Foundation gifts have supported the college’s program development in bioregional planning, the Western Aspen Alliance, efforts to restore Utah’s rivers and riparian areas, sustainable living education and programming in Utah and Great Basin restoration, along with the college’s Academic Service Center, distance education programs and technological facilities.

“We are deeply grateful to the Quinney Foundation for its generosity and pioneering vision,” said Chris Luecke, interim dean of the College of Natural Resources. “The foundation support has provided amazing opportunities for our students along with programs that preserve our state’s unique natural resources and improve the quality of life for all Utahns.”

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.

Read more about the students and programs supported by the Quinney Foundation’s gifts at “A Quinney Celebration.”

See the S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources video.

Contact: Tim Vitale, 435-797-1356,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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