In the Name of Science: Alumnus Stakes Name in SUU’s Future
April 30, 2012
One of Southern Utah University’s most prominent graduates will forever hold a place in University history as namesake to one of SUU’s largest academic colleges, which will be formally renamed the Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering in a celebration on Thursday, May 3, to kick off SUU’s 113th annual Commencement weekend.
The late Walter M. Gibson, one of the world’s preeminent scientists of his time, will forever inspire SUU’s students, thanks to an impressive contribution — the largest gift in SUU history — from the Gibson family that will support scholarships and research initiatives for the College of Science and Engineering (COSE) in perpetuity.
Robert Eves, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, is elated about the endowment and the many great opportunities it will provide for future students. “This is a complete game-changer for the college,” Eves said. “It is the most significant thing that has occurred during my twenty years here at SUU.”
Eves is particularly encouraged by the resources the new funding will provide to augment students’ engaged education opportunities. In addition to supporting internships and research opportunities, funds will afford scholarships to attract new students and reward the college’s high achievers.
The college naming ceremony, which will showcase all the talent and creativity in which the Gibson family has invested, will be at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Bradshaw Grove, just north of the Science Buildings.
In addition to his own contributions to the field at large as well as to the SUU legacy, Gibson’s wife, Alice, has proven the family’s true commitment to academic advancement and success. Southern Utah University is eternally grateful to the Gibson family for their generosity and support.
“This event is a great credit to the Gibson family,” said Dean Robert Eves. “It demonstrates the gratitude that Dr. Gibson had for this university in giving him his start and will provide great opportunities for many future students to come.”
As a career researcher at Bell Laboratories, Gibson performed groundbreaking research which contributed to the rescue of the Telstar satellite in 1963.
A native of Enoch, Utah, Walter Gibson is an alumnus of the Branch Agricultural College, the original name of the institution that is now Southern Utah University. Gibson earned an associate’s degree in chemistry in 1951 and credited his love for science and discovery to his time at SUU. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and later completed a doctorate in nuclear chemistry at the University of California-Berkeley.