Forestry Dean Endows Fund for Natural Resources Workforce Diversity

Michigan Tech News (October 28, 2016)

Terry L. Sharik, dean of Michigan Tech's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES), has donated a gift to Michigan Technological University to establish the Terry L. Sharik Endowed Fund for Natural Resources Workforce Diversity. 

He plans to seed the fund with $25,000 by 2017 and donate an additional 10 percent of his estate upon his death.

He explained the reason for his gift: “I decided to make this gift because I care deeply about the future of the natural resources profession, which in my opinion requires a diverse workforce if it is to serve society at a high level.  That diversity is woefully lacking at the present, especially with respect to gender and even more so, race/ethnicity.” 

The endowed fund will support a variety of initiatives that Sharik hopes will help attract and retain underrepresented populations to the student, faculty, and staff ranks in SFRES. These programs could include scholarships, on-campus visits by natural resources leaders from underrepresented populations, sending Michigan Tech people to conferences on diversity issues, supplementing faculty and staff salaries, and creating social networks for underrepresented groups.

The endowment is designed to help Michigan Tech’s SFRES to educate the diverse workforce that Sharik says is fundamental to stewarding the natural resources of our country and the world well into the future.  The endowment will provide permanent resources for efforts to increase and support underrepresented populations of students, faculty and staff in SFRES.

Earlier this year, Sharik also endowed a natural resources diversity fund at West Virginia University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Wildlife Management in 1964. He is also giving to the University of Michigan, where he received his Master of Forestry degree in Forest Recreation and his Ph.D. in Forest Botany, in 1964 and 1970, respectively, with the funds to be used for similar purposes.