After taking geology class at Dixie State, St. George couple donates $1M to university

ST. GEORGE — Those who opted out of attending Dixie State University because it didn’t have a geology program can now think twice due to a $1 million donation.

The latest donation by St. George couple Denis and Diane Lyman will be used toward a geology program and regional center, which will be housed on the top floor of the $58 million Science, Engineering & Technology building set to break ground in the fall.

In January, the Lymans donated $1 million toward renovations for Karl Brooks Field, the university’s softball complex.

Read more: Utah Legislature appropriates $50M for new building at Dixie State

The geology program will be known as the Dr. Denis and Diane Robards Lyman Southwest Geoscience Center.

“I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me and shared with me that we need to have a geology program in St. George, Utah,” said DSU President Richard “Biff” Williams.

President Richard “Biff” Williams at the announcement of a $1 million donation for a geology program at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, May 30, 2019 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

Eric Pedersen, dean of the College of Science, Engineering & Technology, said the Lymans’ donation will allow the university to hire additional faculty members assigned to geology, which will provide more resources and research opportunities to students interested in the field.

“Dennis and Diane’s gift will allow for greater resources to research our world-renowned gem that is known as Southwestern Utah,” he told the audience Thursday during an announcement of the donation in the Holland Centennial Commons building.

The Lymans’ donation wasn’t random, as they felt the need to make the donation after taking a geology course from Rick Miller at Dixie State’s Institute for Continued Learning. The Lymans, who are originally from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, were intrigued in learning more about Southern Utah’s beauty when they moved to St. George.

“When we moved here, it was a whole new look,” Diane Lyman said, adding that she enjoyed learning why some of Southern Utah’s red-stone rocks were white and how lava rocks appeared in the valley.

L-R: Denis and Diane Lyman alongside artist Roland Lee at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, May 30, 2019 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

Both Denis and Diane were fascinated by a lesson they learned on plate tectonics that they decided to visit Iceland, the only place where two plates meet on land – the North American plate and the Eurasian plate.

“We were able to walk through where they meet,” she said.

Both agreed that Miller brought their attention to everyday geological features they didn’t notice before. Denis Lyman described Miller as a “master teacher.”

As a token of appreciation for their donation, the Lymans were gifted a watercolor painting by Roland Lee depicting the side of The Sentinel, a prominent landmark at Zion National Park.

The Lymans said they hope this contribution will help further students’ education and provide more opportunities in geology and science careers.

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Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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