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Jul 29, 2014 04:58 AM EDT

Family of KU Alumnus Donates $16 Million for “Slawson Hall” Construction

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The family of University of Kansas alumnus Donald Slawson has made a $16 million gift to support the construction of a hall on the school's proposed Earth, Energy and Environment Center. The Hall will be named after Slawson, recognising his longstanding commitment to KU and higher education.

Slawson, who passed away on July 7, holds a bachelor's degree in political science from KU in 1955. He then went on to establish Slawson Exploration at the age of 24. The oil and gas exploration firm became one of the most active oil drilling operations in the United States.

"It is a fitting tribute that Slawson Hall will house and integrate both geology and petroleum engineering curricula, noting Don's passion for the oil industry and higher education," said one of his sons, Todd Slawson, in a statement." Todd is a 1984 graduate of petroleum engineering.

Besides the Slawson Hall, the Center will also include auditoriums, classrooms, laboratories and multipurpose spaces to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration among researchers in numerous earth science and energy fields, including geology, engineering, geophysics, energy, nanotechnology, energy storage and the environment. A part of Slawson Hall will be devoted to technology transfer, providing practical applications to discoveries and developments made at the KU.

"The generosity of Don and his family has made it possible for us to move forward on this landmark project that advances our efforts to identify new and sustainable sources of energy for our world," said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. "With Don's passing, KU and Kansas have lost a true advocate for higher education, but his legacy will live on and benefit countless others through Slawson Hall."

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