MORAN — University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan says the university should spend all of a $40 million faculty endowment to recruit professors and researchers for UW's new School of Energy Resources.
Buchanan said it's tempting to spread the money among several departments, but the university ought to spend "every penny" on the energy school.
"We're much better off focusing on a world-class program," he told the Wyoming Mining Association's annual convention Thursday.
The faculty endowment is part of a $105 million package created by the Legislature last year. Community colleges and vocational schools also share in the faculty endowment.
Buchanan said last year that he wanted to concentrate the money in only two or three areas of the university. But on Thursday, he said the prominence of energy development in Wyoming has persuaded him to make the School of Energy Resources his "highest priority" for the university.
He expressed frustration about not getting federal research funding in proportion to Wyoming's large contribution to the nation's energy supply. "Those are our moneys, and we want more and greater access to them than we've had in the past," he said.
He said he wanted a newly appointed advisory council — before searching for a director of the new school — to first meet with state and energy industry officials to discuss a vision for the school.
"We do have students lined up waiting, I think, to get involved with this program," he said.
He said the school would be built on cooperation between the university, the state and Wyoming's energy companies. "It's safe to say that the relationship between the university and the Wyoming Mining Association has not been as strong as it might have been in the past, and I'd like to see that change," he said.
"My goal is to make sure that starting today we do a better job of supporting those industries that give us the quality of life we have today."