Colorado State University will confer an honorary doctoral degree on Edward M. Warner on Saturday, May 14, as part of the spring 2011 commencement ceremonies.
CSU President Tony Frank will award the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, to Warner in recognition of his unprecedented contributions to the university and his dedication to serving mankind through his tireless work as a scientist, educator and philanthropist. Warner will receive his degree at the Warner College of Natural Resources’ commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. in CSU’s Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.
“We award traditional, academic doctoral degrees based on a substantial contribution to the person’s field – symbolic of the transformative impact we believe our graduates will have over the span of their careers,” said Frank. “We award honorary doctorates to those who have also had a transformative impact, either through their professional achievements or philanthropy. This year’s degree recipients have each had a profound, transforming impact on Colorado State University.
“Ed Warner embraces CSU’s land-grant educational and outreach missions and believes that academic excellence in natural resources is vital to the economic and environmental health of our nation and world,” Frank said. “He has invested, as an alumnus and renowned geologist, to ensure that CSU continues to offer some of the world’s most innovative and important programs in environmental research and education. His is not just a name on a building – he’s actively engaged with the work of our students and faculty and gives a great deal of his personal time and energy to the college and the university.”
“I will always believe that doing good works is its own reward. That my friends and colleagues at Colorado State University think I am deserving of this prestigious honor is truly humbling,” said Warner.
Warner, who graduated from CSU in 1968 with a degree in Geosciences, developed a great love for the university and the faculty in the College of Natural Resources. He earned a master’s in Geology from UCLA in 1971 before working for Shell Oil Company, Amoco and Energetics Inc. He became president and owner of Denver-based Expedition Oil Company Inc. in 1982 and partnered with Casper, Wyo.-based McMurry Oil Co. to acquire a small natural gas field in west-central Wyoming now known as Jonah Field.
Warner discovered innovative methods to tap Jonah Field, which has been estimated to contain more than 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – 1.5 percent of the nation’s reserves. The Jonah Field is responsible for creating 600 jobs in Wyoming and, over its expected 75-year lifetime, will create more than $30 billion in economic activity – including more than $3 billion in tax revenue for Wyoming.
In 2005, Warner donated $30 million to his beloved alma mater, which responded by naming the college the Warner College of Natural Resources. His gift established endowed chairs in Economic Geology and Geophysics, funded teaching assistantships and created the Center of Collaborative Conservation. His donation remains the largest gift in CSU’s history.
Warner continues to give back to CSU in numerous ways. He holds two honorary faculty positions and is co-chair of WCNR’s Dean’s Advisory council. He and his wife, Jackie, are members of the Campaign Leadership Council, charged with leading the university’s first major capital campaign. He makes regular campus appearances to speak to students, and each summer he leads a four-day student field trip that is part of the Geosciences curriculum.
Warner’s philanthropic work extends well beyond the CSU campus. He is director of the Sand County Foundation, a trustee for the Endowment for Earth Work, a trustee for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, a past trustee for the Geological Society of America Foundation, a past trustee for the American Geological Institute Foundation, and director and treasurer of the Explorers Foundation. He has done extensive volunteer work in helping to preserve sage grouse in Western Colorado, and each summer he spends two weeks teaching geology to Boy Scouts at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
The Warners live in Denver. He has a son, Michael, from a previous marriage.