President’s Distinguished Lecture: CoorsTek’s $27 million gift to Mines

CoorsTek CEO, Dr. John Coors recently announced a major commitment. CoorsTek will provide $26.9 million in funding to the Applied Science and Engineering department at Colorado School of Mines. CoorsTek, headquartered in Golden, is a privately owned manufacturer of ceramics, semiconductor tooling, and other industrial products.

Dr. John Coors announced that “Our investment in Mines is not only an investment in the future of our company and a great university – it’s an investment in solving global challenges in energy, transportation, information technology.” Dr. Coors, who received his bachelor’s degree at the Colorado School of Mines, feels there is a need for more engineering materials and ceramics in our world. He is excited about new discoveries in materials science and biotechnology. However, in order to discover new ideas, one must have faith. “The only challenge that students have to face is the fear of failure.” However, he said that every student at Mines is fortunate. “Mines will teach you success from the failures you have,” Coors says. CoorsTek currently employs 50 Mines graduates and that figure is expected to rise with the new science and engineering building and the research fellowships. Coors describes Mines graduate students as having a unique set of skills and abilities.

The $26.9 million investment to Mines is the largest single private commitment in Mines’ 140 year history. About $6.9 million of the donation will create a research fellowship program and the other $20 million of the donation will cover most of the construction budget to build a new 95,000-square-foot building, which will be a new home to the Physics department. Building features will include flexible laboratories, customizable classrooms for hands-on learning, and centralized teaching and research space. The facility will be located on and around the site of the current physics building, Meyer Hall, at 15th and Arapahoe streets in Golden.

Mines president, Bill Scoggins said the investment was from discussions that he had with John Coors and was excited when the terms of the donation were finalized. “They [CoorsTek] have a long, long history of collaboration with us,” Scoggins said. “What really makes the gift impressive is that it involves more than just bricks and mortar. The equipment and educational support are vital.”

In addition, Douglas Miller, Vice President of CoorsTek, said that the company selected three projects to fund at Mines. Those projects were selected based on two areas: oxide ceramics and converting gas to liquid gas to reduce greenhouse gases.
The investment will fund a greater partnership between CoorsTek and Mines, focusing on solving global challenges through technical expertise and innovation. “It’s an investment in both the Colorado School of Mines and in the future of CoorsTek,” Coors said. “I like the word investment because it implies a return. It’s all about creating value.”



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