Professor Pledges $1 Million To UTEP

Oct 16, 2012

Philip Goodell, Ph.D., associate professor of geological sciences at The University of Texas at El Paso, and his wife, Kathy, have pledged a gift of $1 million to the Department of Geological Sciences.

The gift is the largest pledged to the College of Science to date, and it is the largest single gift made by a faculty member to any college or school at UTEP.

Kathy Goodell said President Diana Natalicio’s leadership and her efforts to transform the campus were important factors in the decision to make the gift. “She embodies a lot of what we want – to give everybody a chance and the best chance,” Kathy Goodell said of the president’s inspiration.

“We are deeply grateful to Philip and Kathy Goodell for their generous commitment to UTEP,” President Natalicio said. “It is especially gratifying to receive a major gift from members of our own UTEP family who know us especially well and recognize the powerful impact that we have on our students and the Paso del Norte region we serve. We thank them for this validation of our work and their confidence in our bright future.”

The gift will train geologists to become effective and successful entrepreneurs in their fields. It will also support UTEP’s geology students’ “drive and motivation” to conduct innovative research in the geological sciences.

Philip Goodell recognizes the potential of important geological findings to be transformed into lucrative endeavors, which he believes accounts for “the need to enhance geological research with an equally strong foundation in business.”

He hopes that if others see someone like him making a gift, it may inspire them to contribute to UTEP’s commitment to academic and research excellence by making their own generous gift as well.

Goodell, who was born and raised in El Paso, has worked at the University since 1975. He received his undergraduate degree in solid-state physics from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in geology. He specializes in economic geology and geochemistry. Goodell is responsible for the creation of Celebration of our Mountains, a local group that leads hikes, nature tours, and studies for the community to learn, appreciate and enjoy the region’s natural environment.

Stephen Aley, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Science, said Goodell's gift is a tremendous vote of confidence for the student education mission of the Department of Geological Sciences and UTEP.

“Here is a professor who has given of himself for decades, teaching and mentoring students, and he chooses to give even more,” he said.

Russell A. Vandenburg, chair of the UTEP Centennial fundraising campaign, said Goodell’s gift shows that UTEP’s employees are invested in “the success of this region’s students, in the achievement of UTEP’s Tier One goals and in the vision for the future of our community,” he said. “Through his exceptional career as an educator and researcher, and now through this remarkable gift, Dr. Goodell has demonstrated the very best of who we are as a University.”

Laura Serpa, Ph.D, chair of the Department of Geological Sciences, praised Goodell as a “role model for geology students at UTEP who wish to pursue careers in mining and economic geology.”

Goodell has always inspired students to explore and discover, she said.

“His field trips are notorious adventures and his occasional disregard for rules has inspired students to realize they can work outside the box and have a rewarding career,” Serpa said. “His love of teaching and his work with educators have given him the ability to reach students and inspire them to succeed.”