This year marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Army ROTC programs in the nation. Colorado School of Mines was designated the ROTC Company for the Battalion (13 Metro Area Schools) to host the celebration, which occurred in conjunction with E-Days festivities on April 1.

GOLDEN, Colo., March 14, 2016 –In 2014, the Mines Marching Band competed for a highly coveted place in the Dublin, Ireland St. Patrick's Day Parade. Their performance landed them a formal invitation from the mayor of Dublin to perform in the 2016 parade, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Irish independence.

On February 18, 2016, President Barack Obama named Melissa Teague, who earned her PhD in Materials Science from Mines in 2013, as one of 105 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

“These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness,” President Obama said in a White House press release. “We congratulate these accomplished individuals and encourage them to continue to serve as an example of the incredible promise and ingenuity of the American people.”

Established by former President Bill Clinton in 1996, the award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals early in their independent research careers. Various federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most commendable professionals whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America’s ingenuity in science and engineering. 

Nominated by the U.S. Department of Energy, Teague was selected for her pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and her commitment to community service.

“I am very excited and honored to be recognized for my research efforts,” Teague said. “And getting to meet the president is pretty cool.” 

Teague will receive her award at a formal ceremony in Washington, D.C., this spring.



Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assitant, Mines Magazine | 303-273-3959 |
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 |

Colorado School of Mines recently celebrated the grand opening of the Starzer Welcome Center at the corner of 19th and Illinois streets, named for Michael R. and Patricia (Patty) K. Starzer ’83, who gave a $4 million gift for construction of the building. It is the new home for the Colorado School of Mines Office of Admissions, Foundation and Alumni Association.

The Starzers say they attribute school, family and faith to their personal and financial successes. It’s also where they place their contributions.

Their gift and the story of their financial successes dates back more than 100 years and involves the man that Stratton Hall was named after.

Patty tells it best in this story she shared during the building’s ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Nov. 2:

“In the mid 1860's, there was a young man living in the midwest who dreamed of striking it rich prospecting in the Wild West of Colorado. He followed after and prospected with another enterprising young man named Winfield Scott Stratton.

This young man ventured off to seek his fortune with Stratton and others in their prospecting party in the Colorado Mountains, leaving Justina Reichuber-Starzer, his wife at home.

After long, lonely months of prospecting with nothing to show for it, the young man decided to stick it out a little longer than he and his wife had agreed and prospected a few more months. Still not finding his fortune, he decided to return home to his wife, while he still had a wife. He knew she would be miffed, so he purchased a peace offering for her in hopes that she would forgive him for being away so long and coming home poor. Upon returning home to Justina, he presented the peace offering. The story is that while his wife indeed welcomed him home, she flatly refused to accept the gift—which she viewed as very expensive at the price of their savings.  

Stratton, however, stuck it out and in July 1891 staked what became the Independence Mine near Cripple Creek. Stratton became not only rich, but was very generous. He was appointed to the Colorado School of Mines Board of Trustees in 1899. In 1900, Stratton presented a check for $25,000 to Regis Chauvenet to benefit the school. This was the first sizable philanthropic gift to Mines. The money was applied to construct Stratton Hall, completed in 1904, which still stands on our Mines campus today. Unfortunately, Stratton passed away in September 1902 and did not see the completion of the building that bears his name.

So how did I hear of the young man’s story? About one and a half years ago, Mike and his mom, Marilyn, and I were discussing the history of Mines and the various buildings on campus, and the need for the Welcome Center as a starting point for prospective students and their parents. When we mentioned Stratton Hall, Marilyn began questioning us about Winfield Scott Stratton and the timeframe of his involvement in the Colorado gold and silver rush and Mines. She then shared with us this story told to her by Mike’s grandfather, Joseph Francis Starzer, about Joseph’s grandfather prospecting in Colorado with Winfield Stratton and others in the prospecting party.

The story and the peace offering were passed down four generations, beginning with Mike’s great, great grandfather, that prospector from Kansas, Xaver Starzer, who wore the ring himself on his pinky because his wife, Justina, refused to accept it. This same ring I am wearing today.

Today—111 years later—we celebrate the opening of the Starzer Welcome Center on the same campus as Stratton Hall. I feel like we have come full circle and wonder what the two young prospectors would think if they were here today. We are privileged to be a part of Mines history and hope that many generations to follow will be blessed as well.”

Other major donors to the building include David and Marti Wagner (East and West Board Rooms), the Patrick M. James Family (Heritage Lounge) and Howard and Cherine Janzen (Executive Conference Room). Supporters include: Heather Boyd, The Galena Foundation, William Jr. and Jann Klett, Linda Landrum, Ronald and Judy Lease, and William and Kyle Neidt.



Kathleen Morton, Digital Media & Communications Manager / 303-273-3088 /
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 /

On Sept. 30, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson visited the Colorado School of Mines campus to speak to a sold-out crowd of students, alums, faculty, staff and community members in Lockridge Arena.

“This has got to be the geekiest audience I've ever seen; I’m not holding back,” Tyson said at the beginning of the night.

Tyson’s talk, part of the President’s Distinguished Lecture series and a kickoff to the 2015 homecoming weekend, was centered on “Astronomy Bizarre”— a grab-bag of unusual objects, phenomena and ideas in the universe. He included recent NASA images indicating evidence of salt water on Mars, and reminded the audience of Pluto’s status as a planet.

“We all thought Pluto was just trying to be a victim of its environment with craters and stuff that happened to it. But if you have mountains that means you’re doing something from within. You’ve got some action of your own,” Tyson said. “But regardless of all this, it’s still a dwarf planet; get over it.”

Tyson dropped “knowledge eggs” on the crowd, including his love of black holes.

“The Earth wants to kill us! So does the universe,” Tyson said. Later he added, “The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”

Recently Tyson served as executive editor and on camera host and narrator for “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey," the 21st century reboot of Carl Sagan's landmark television series. Tyson is the fifth head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City and the first occupant of its Frederick P. Rose Directorship. He is also a research associate of the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.


2015 Neil deGrasse Tyson


Kathleen Morton, Digital Media & Communications Manager / 303-273-3088 /
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 /

Two Mines researchers have been awarded NASA grants to work on an “out-of-this-world” extraction technique called optical mining. Mechanical Engineering Assistant Research Professor Christopher Dreyer and Director of the Center for Space Resources Angel Abbud-Madrid are developing novel technologies to obtain valuable resources from asteroids, which can be used as rocket propellants.

“The optical mining concept is very exciting because it is a large-scale approach for producing resources in space that can be attempted soon,” Dreyer said. “We are contributing experimental evidence for the conditions under which intense light will disassemble carbonaceous chondrite asteroids.”

Optical mining will use concentrated solar energy to heat and fracture asteroids causing them to release volatile elements. These resources will be extracted and used in space to avoid the high cost of transporting them from Earth.

Mechanical engineering student Alexander Lampe and engineering physics student Travis Canney are helping with this research by preparing vacuum chambers for experiments, designing the test matrix, writing experimental procedures and running tests.

Their research project is funded by a $500,000 grant for “Laboratory Demonstration and Test of Solar Thermal Asteroid ISRU,” by the NASA Early Stage Innovations program and a $125,000 grant for “Demonstration of Optical Mining for Excavation of Asteroids and Production of Mission Consumables,” by the NASA Small Business Innovation Research program.

Mines researchers are working in this multidisciplinary effort with Missouri University of Science and Technology Professor Leslie Gertsch (Mines alumna GE ’82, PhD ‘89) and TransAstra Corporation Founder & Principal Engineer Joel Sercel. Other research participants include the University of Hawaii.

Mines’ research efforts were recently highlighted in, SpaceDaily, Sputnik International and Missouri S&T.



Kathleen Morton, Digital Media & Communications Manager / 303-273-3088 /
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 /

GOLDEN, Colo., Sept. 23, 2015 – Colorado School of Mines will celebrate Homecoming and Alumni Weekend Sept. 30-Oct. 3.

Events include a spirit rally on Kafadar Commons from noon to 2 p.m., men’s soccer at 5 p.m. and women’s soccer at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 2.

On Oct. 3, the homecoming parade begins at 9 a.m., and Mines Football vs. New Mexico Highlands begins at noon at Marv Kay Stadium.


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