KU receives $2 million gift to help maintain 100-year old geology field camp

photo by: Submitted photo

Beth Harrison is pictured at the KU Geology Field Camp in the summer of 2022, when the camp celebrated its centennial anniversary.

The University of Kansas has received a $2 million gift to help it sustain a geology field camp it operates in Colorado.

The Harrison Family Fund at the Douglas County Community Foundation gave the $2 million gift to support the KU Geology Field Camp in Cañon City, Colorado. The family of Robert “Bob” Harrison has been longtime supporters of the field camp. Bob Harrison was a 1938 KU geology graduate, who spent time at the field camp.

The gift will provide needed money for maintenance at the camp, while also providing additional funds for faculty and teaching assistants, who are asked to work in unusual conditions.

“For four to six weeks, we live there and go out and teach 10 hours a day, out with students, walking around,” said Doug Walker, Union Pacific Resources Distinguished Professor in the department of geology. “It’s a constant hands-on experience and a huge jumping-off point for students. There probably aren’t many other capstone courses that have as many contact hours with faculty as this course.”

Beth Harrison — Bob Harrison’s daughter-in-law — was instrumental in directing the gift to the KU field camp. Beth Harrison, a former music educator, said she could see the passion the camp created for many future geologists.

“When the students attend the geology camp, they actually get to ‘do geology’ and see the actual metamorphosis of the rocks they have been studying,” she said. “They speak about the rocks they have seen with the same passion that I speak about music.”

KU has been teaching classes in the area near Cañon City since 1922.


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