For nearly three decades, Fort Lewis College (FLC) students have benefited from the generosity of a man they would never meet. Through his estate, the late Roy Dalpra, who lived around Farmington, NM, has given more than half a million dollars to support FLC. The latest gift, $288,000 for the College’s new Geosciences, Physics & Engineering (GPE) Hall, will help complete FLC’s most technologically-sophisticated facility to date.
“He was a quiet, but generous guy who valued education,” says Darrin Church of Dalpra. Mr. Church is the president of Farmington’s Citizens Trust & Investment Corporation, the organization overseeing the Dalpra accounts.
Interestingly, not much is known about Mr. Dalpra. Those who do remember him describe him in much the same way as Mr. Church: a quiet, unassuming man. Yet Mr. Dalpra’s impact to Fort Lewis College has been immense, and with his gift to the GPE Hall, he’ll receive a little of the recognition that he never sought, but definitely deserves.
When it’s completed, the GPE Hall’s rooftop observatory deck will be dedicated to Mr. Dalpra. Not only will the rooftop space offer some of the most remarkable views short of climbing a fourteener, but it will also house FLC’s observatory and telescopes.
For FLC students like Elinor Mullin, a senior physics major, a look to the heavens meant utilizing the College's observatory 20 miles away in Hesperus, CO. When the GPE Hall is completed in late 2016, the new rooftop observatory will add to FLC students' ability to explore the final frontier.
At the 2016 FLC Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities Symposium in April, Elinor presented on her work using the College observatory to find exoplanets, planets beyond our solar system. You can view the presentation on her discoveries at https://youtu.be/akfO6zFlU2s?t=1h16m11s.
You can also watch the construction of the new Geosciences, Physics & Engineering Hall live at www.fortlewis.edu/GPE.