Legacy Spotlight: Deb Shields


"The foundation of research is an understanding of the existing literature, what has been discovered and published before and what is not known. Without libraries, none of this is possible." —Deb Shields

I graduated from Colorado State University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science in wildlife biology. I wanted to study mammals, but quickly learned that there were very few job openings in this field for those with only a Bachelor of Science. Needing a job, I turned to the electrical equipment industry. By the late 1970s, I was working as an engineering sales representative for Westinghouse Corp., calling on the coal, metal mining, and oil industries.

I have been part of the extractive industries my entire life. My grandfather was an oil wildcatter, who started his business after the Great Depression. My uncle worked with him, as did my father in his later years. Visiting mines and oil fields revived my interest in mineral resources, and led me to seek a master's degree in mineral economics at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.

After graduation, I went to work for the U.S. Bureau of Mines. A transfer to the U.S. Forest Service brought me back to Fort Collins, and allowed me to further my education once more. I received my doctorate in rangeland ecosystem science from Colorado State University, in 1997. I retired from the Forest Service in 2007, and I am now affiliated faculty in the Department of Economics at CSU, and a visiting professor of resource economics at the Politecnico di Torino, in Turin, Italy.

During my career as a mineral economist, I have had the honor of collaborating with enormously talented individuals; the opportunity to travel the world from Slovenia, to Chile, to China (and many places in between); and the good fortune to be able to pursue research that is both fascinating and has global impact. My research regarding the application of sustainable development principles to the extractive industries is a melding of the mineral economics I learned at the Colorado School of Mines and the resource biology and management I learned at Colorado State.

My career is founded on what I learned at CSU, and libraries and access to information have been vital to my life and my work. I want to do everything I can to make sure students studying natural resources, resource economics, and land management continue to have the same great opportunities that I had. That is why, after careful consideration, I decided to leave a legacy gift to CSU's Morgan Library. I believe that I can help many students by providing funds that will be used to purchase resource materials, improve work and study areas, and enhance technology for student, faculty, and community use.