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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Utah State University has received a $15 million donation, the largest in the school's history.
Entrepreneur Marc Bingham and his wife, Debbie, are donating the money to Utah State's Uintah Basin campus in Vernal. The money will go toward construction of an Entrepreneurship and Energy Research Center.
The building will train students in business, entrepreneurship, accounting, engineering, water management, natural resources, environmental policy and other programs.
Some of the research will relate to the area's oil industry.
"This is something we were working on for some time," said USU President Stan Albrecht. "It will raise the level of education and the quality of life in the basin. But, most important for the community, it will support Utah State University's broader effort to help the basin recruit its own, educate its own and return them to the local community as educated citizens, business people and leaders."
Construction of the center is scheduled to begin next year with a completion date in 2009.
Research teams housed in the center can attract government funding and private investment that could benefit the local community, said Robert Foley, chair of the education committee for the Vernal Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of USU's board of trustees.
The increased research funding from state, federal and commercial grants is also expected to help the campus recruit students and faculty to work and live in the basin.
Richard Shipley, chairman of USU's board of trustees, said the gift and the building it funds will also provide a boost to distance learning programs based at the new Uintah Basin site.
"Marc and his wife, Debbie, had a strong desire to give something back to the basin community -- something that would have a positive impact on people's lives there," Shipley said. "This building certainly will do that, and it also will become a catalyst for others to see how Utah State University can make a difference in their communities."
Two years ago, Vernal businessman Bob Williams donated land to build the center on. .
Uintah County is also spending $5 million to finance roads and utilities for the facility. The Bingham gift will fund the second building on the Vernal campus. The first building will be used by USU and the Uintah Basin Applied Technology College.
Information from: The Herald Journal
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)