An Alumna Returns: "My Time at UNLV Always Stuck in My Heart"
Maureen Wruck-Panzer is not a graduate of UNLV, nor has she ever taught at or worked for the university. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that she is one of UNLV's biggest fans, and a generous supporter as well.
"My introduction to UNLV was an introduction to the world," says Maureen, who grew up in an isolated area of Arizona and attended UNLV for two years before earning her geology degree elsewhere. "The enthusiasm the faculty had for researching and learning opened doors for me.
"It was at UNLV that I learned to think for myself, to ask why and to analyze situations. This has carried me through life and helped me in business, where you need to be able to think through things rather than just accept."
After a brief stint as a geologist, Maureen began working as a planning consultant. Today, she heads a California company involved with multinational development— but her love and appreciation for the earth sciences remain strong.
"Geosciences contribute so much to the world, yet don't get a lot of attention," Maureen says. To do her part, she is funding a UNLV scholarship for graduate students in geology and leaving a generous bequest in her trust to the Department of Geoscience in the College of Sciences. There is a specific bequest for "special acquisitions," with a percentage of the remainder of her estate then going to the department for its priorities.
"My husband (Joel Panzer) and I have no children," Maureen says, "and we feel that it's important to have control over our money and what will happen to it when we are gone. We decided we wanted to leave our money to education.
"My time at UNLV always stuck in my heart. I learned so much—about myself and academically—and made some of my best friends there. This was a pretty fantastic part of my life," Maureen says. "UNLV really made a difference. It helped me find the way."