December 06, 2000
BP and Phillips Charter Contributions May Fund New Economic Development Center at University of Alaska
December 6, 2000 NR 26-2000
BP and Phillips Petroleum Co. today presented the University of Alaska Foundation with checks totaling $2.537 million, the first annual contributions under the terms of the companies' charter agreement with the State of Alaska. Richard Campbell, president of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., and Kevin O. Meyers, president of Phillips Alaska, Inc. presented the checks to Grace Schaible, president of the Board of Trustees of the UA Foundation. Governor Tony Knowles, who recommended the UA contribution as his administration negotiated the charter agreement, and UA President Mark R. Hamilton, both spoke at the presentation ceremony.
"These generous contributions to the university by BP and Phillips are a product of their commitment to Alaskans under the agreement resulting from the buyout in our oil patch," Knowles said. "I share the university's vision that this is a unique opportunity for excellence. "This and future generations of Alaskans will be grateful if these funds are used wisely to assist with our state's economic and intellectual development," the governor said.
BP's contribution was $1.449 million, and the Phillips contribution was $1.088 million, for a total just over $2.5 million. Expressing the university's gratitude to Gov. Knowles and to BP and Phillips, Hamilton said, "The university will focus these funds on addressing how Alaska can develop a more diversified and self-sufficient economy that is sustainable over the long term and how the university can contribute to that challenge."
Hamilton said he would recommend that the university use the funds to develop a center to be named in the near future with appropriate recognition to BP and Phillips for their generosity. He said the purpose of the center over the next several years would be to build the university's capacity to perform the research and to prepare the workforce that will play a major role in Alaska's economic future.
"A prime example of a focus for the center would be research and workforce preparation for the design, construction and operation of the natural gas pipeline likely to be constructed in the coming years," Hamilton said. "As the center develops and demonstrates its value to the state, it would add to or shift its focus to other opportunities."
Campbell and Meyers said the contributions mark the beginning of a new era in the relationship between the university and the oil industry that will prove beneficial to Alaskans over the years. The total dollar amount of the two companies' combined annual contributions to the Foundation will vary with production and price, but estimates range from $2.5 million to more than $4 million per year.
The charter agreement specifies that 30 percent of the money BP and Phillips set aside each year for community giving will go to the University of Alaska Foundation for use by the university.
Hamilton said as he envisioned it, the center would report to his office, and he would name the director, based on the advice and counsel of a faculty and staff committee. He said the center would be advised by two groups, the first of distinguished political, business and other leaders, including members of the UA Board of Regents and the UA Foundation Board of Trustees and representatives of BP, Phillips, and the Governor's Office.
"On behalf of the university and the university community," Hamilton said, "I want to thank Governor Knowles for his insistence on including the UA contributions from the oil industry as the charter agreement was negotiated. It's an excellent example of his continuing commitment to higher education."
Hamilton said he believed that in less than 2,500 days, Alaska will be in the midst of a period of economic growth.
"We must begin now to prepare Alaskans for the employment opportunities that will contribute to that growth," the university's chief executive said. "We must begin now to make sure that economic development in Alaska meets our standards of 'doing it right.' For Alaskans to share in this bright future, we need to get moving right away, and that's just what we are planning to do with the center made possible by the BP and Phillips contributions."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Bob Miller, UA Public Affairs, 907-474-6311
Scott Taylor, UA Foundation, 907-474-7687
David Ramseur, Office of the Governor, 907-465-3500
John Ringstad, BP, Fairbanks, 907-456-6891
Dawn Patience, Phillips, 907-265-6134