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Pahrump GBC campus benefits from donation

ELKO — Great Basin College announced that Barrick Gold of North America pledged nearly $1.2 million in additional funding for the college’s programs and facilities.

The pledge is the latest result of a partnership between Barrick and Great Basin that started in the 1980s, when the company began operating in Nevada. Barrick’s latest commitment will support the institution’s Virtual Humanities Center, Maintenance Training Cooperative (MTC), the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs as well as outreach and recruitment of Western Shoshone students.

“The Great Basin College Virtual Humanities Center will benefit students throughout the service area. It will fund four projects, including programming, which will either be presented live in Pahrump or via interactive video,” Great Basin College Foundation President John Rice said.

“The grant will allow us to do even more of it. In addition to programming, it will provide access to humanities content, a tool-kit for faculty to use to integrate more humanities content into their coursework, and a new online Humanities course which will bring more topical relevance to humanities for students enrolled in every GBC program.”

“We look forward to continued success with the MTC program and to participating in the development of the Virtual Humanities Center, especially as it encompasses previous efforts with the Great Basin Indian Archive,” Tim Buchanan, Barrick’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, wrote in a May 30 letter to Great Basin College President Mark A. Curtis. He responded to the announcement with enthusiasm.

“This is wonderful news,” he said. “GBC and our students are so fortunate to have Barrick’s support.”

Curtis coordinated the collaborative effort with Rice.

“Dr. Curtis fully embraced the opportunity the Virtual Humanities Center and support for MTC and CTE programs presented to Barrick,” Rice added. “His work, along with the efforts of Foundation Trustees, demonstrated how important the humanities project is to Barrick’s workforce development needs.”

Melanie Lawson, Community Relations Program Manager at Barrick, is also the current chair of the Great Basin College Foundation Board. She has played an active role in a variety of educational programs throughout Nevada for several years. The company has contributed more than $7 million to GBC over the past 20-plus years.

“At Barrick, we work toward the shared goal of sustainable communities and access to economic opportunities for our employees and our neighbors in Nevada,” Lawson said. “Nothing does more to support sustainability and opportunity than education and we take great pride in our long partnership with GBC and other schools throughout the state.”

The GBC Virtual Humanities Center received a $500,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant requires a two-to-one match and Barrick has pledged $500,000 toward the grant.

The remaining $617,000 of the pledge will support MTC scholarships and CTE programming needs.

Curtis said the Virtual Humanities Center was developed in response to a request from local business and industry.

“The college has been graduating highly skilled technicians for a long time,” he said. “SBusiness and industry expressed a desire for graduates with stronger problem solving and ‘people’ skills – traits a humanities background strengthens. We’re on a course for preparing the next generation of industry leadership in rural Nevada.”

The Center has four components. Humanities in Action will provide programming offered to students and communities throughout the GBC service area. Humanities Crossroads is an online portal providing access to humanities programming and archives, including the Great Basin Indian Archive.

The Humanities Tool Kit provides GBC faculty with the resources needed to integrate humanities into every discipline. Finally, a Humanities Gateway Class will provide relevant humanities instruction to students in GBC’s technical and academic programs.

GBC is also home to the Great Basin Indian Archive (GBIA), a repository of oral histories of the Western Shoshone people whose traditional lands include much of the college’s 82,000-square-mile service area. Placer Dome, a mining company that Barrick acquired in 2006, funded the initial startup of the GBIA and Barrick has supplied sustaining funds in recent years.

The partnership enhances the college’s ability to put additional emphasis on ensuring that Western Shoshone community members participate in and benefit from the academic and technical programs it offers. The college will also expand its outreach to the Western Shoshone community. It has dedicated existing resources and personnel to the continued growth and advancement of the Great Basin Indian Archive.

In addition, existing resources and personnel will significantly increase their efforts and results recruiting and retaining more students from the Western Shoshone community.

“We really appreciate the additional emphasis that GBC will put on ensuring that Western Shoshone members participate in and benefit from these programs and others at the college,” Buchanan added.

Support for the MTC and CTE programs will come in a variety of forms. Additional scholarships, a portion of which will be directed to qualified Western Shoshone students in the MTC program, have been added. Support for two additional sections of the college’s electrical program will add sections in both Elko and Winnemucca.

An additional section of Diesel Technology will be funded on the Elko Campus. Additionally, Barrick has partnered with Nevada’s Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation and other regional industries to fund equipment and operations for GBC’s Instrumentation Program.

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