Alumnus Peter Mesard says he chose to attend Fort Lewis College because of the outdoors—the skiing and the mountain climbing, especially. But his academic experience is what stuck with him, so much so that he has established the Peter Mesard Undergraduate Research Fund for present and future FLC students.
Mesard (Geology and Engineering, ’76) also made a five-year pledge to support construction of FLC’s new Geosciences, Physics & Engineering Hall, which opened its doors in Spring 2017. To show appreciation, FLC named the GPE Hall’s Peter M. Mesard Mineralogy & Petrology Laboratory in his honor.
“I am so grateful and thankful for the experience I had at Fort Lewis,” says Mesard, the principal engineer at Exponent Engineering & Scientific Consulting in Oakland, California. “The very quantitative engineering side of things, and the less quantitative, more observational skills you develop as a geologist, were just a fantastic meld, and I think that combination has really served me well in my career.”
“When I got out of college, the environmental consulting business was almost nonexistent,” he says of his current career path. “All that I had to learn to develop expertise in this area, I learned using the tools I learned at Fort Lewis.”
That innovative career has taken Mesard far afield from Durango, but his heart is still at FLC, he says. He still recalls a bittersweet moment during the graduation ceremony in April 1977.
“The last day before I had to drive to the airport, I walked around the rim of the mesa, like I used to do, just crying my eyes out,” he says. “I just could not believe I was going to leave Durango. I could have very happily stayed there my whole life.”
Mesard may reside in California now, but thanks to his passion for undergraduate research, his name and his contributions will live on at FLC for generations of students to come.