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MSU geology program celebrates reunion and nearly $1 million in privately funded endowments

MSU's geology program has now raised almost $1 million in privately funded endowments.   

Nearly 100 alumni gathered this summer to connect and celebrate the program's success, as well as hear an update on the generous funding provided by alumni and friends to support the program. MSU Professor Emeritus Charlie Mason (Class of 1975) coordinated the reunion with the MSU Alumni Association and alumni traveled from as far as Colorado and Texas to attend. Many group members participated in field research led by MSU alumni Tim Lewis (Class of 1980), Mason and current Professor of Geology Dr. Jen O'Keefe. The attendees also attended a reception and dinner in the Adron Doran University Center (ADUC).    

During the dinner, alumni remembered former professor Dr. John Philley. MSU hired Philley as its first full-time geology and physical sciences instructor in 1960. He had a successful 40-year career at MSU, advancing through the ranks and serving as chair, dean and provost. Philley passed away in 2021. Proceeds from the geology alumni reunion supported the Dr. John and Betty Philley Endowment Fund, a fund valued at over $11,000 with additional commitments to grow the fund to the $25,000 endowment level.   

In addition to the Philley Endowment, the MSU Foundation manages eight additional funds that support the Geology program. These funds include:  

  • Edwin Paul Lyon III Endowment Fund  
  • Frank Michael Baldridge Scholarship Endowment  
  • Geoscience Endowment  
  • Richard A. Walls Geological Research Endowment  
  • Richard A. Walls Scholarship Fund  
  • Robert Thomas Lierman Memorial Scholarship Endowment  
  • Sam Williams Geology Enrichment Endowment   
  • Toney Nelson Phillips Geology Scholarship  

Combined, the value of these endowments is nearly $937,000.   

"It is amazing to see how loyal this alumni group is to their program," said Allison Caudill (Class of 2005, 2009), executive director for the Office of Alumni Relations and Development. "Charlie Mason does a phenomenal job staying connected with Geology alumni. He strives to ensure they remain loyal supporters of MSU and the next generation of Geology students. This commitment is evident through the number of privately funded endowments that benefit the program."  

MSU is inviting geology alumni to save the date for the next reunion on June 21, 2025.  

At Morehead State University, about 95% of our students receive some form of financial aid. The MSU Foundation is instrumental in assisting with scholarship support. The Foundation's endowment, valued at over $70 million, manages nearly 600 funds to support MSU students. As we celebrate 100 years as a public institution, the MSU Foundation is on a mission to grow the endowment to $100 million.    

To learn more about MSU's geology program, visit

If you are interested in making a gift to a current fund, establishing a new scholarship or making a planned gift commitment, contact MSU's Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email or visit