Geologist donates more than 100k to students

By Public Affairs | October 5, 2020

Taylor Cornett accepting the student award from Murray Roed at Okanagan College
Taylor Cornett accepting the student award from Murray Roed at Okanagan College

From the origins of the Okanagan Valley to the complexities of the Mount Boucherie volcano, a geologist has turned his passion for local geology into a major monetary deposit for students.

Murray Roed is the author and co-author of five best-selling geology books on the Okanagan.

For the last 25 years, he and the other book contributors have given 100 per cent of the proceeds to students at Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO). With the latest donation of $5,000, the authors have given more than $100,000 to local students.

“We’re all quite proud of how this turned out,” says Roed, adding the books were never about making money.

“We wanted to share our knowledge of this valley with residents and in doing so help future students entering the field with their studies. It’s worth celebrating what we’ve achieved, there are many contributors to these books and we’re really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together.”

Origin of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia was first published in 1995. Roed and John D. Greenough released a second edition in 2004 and a third edition in 2014 entitled, Okanagan Geology.

Okanagan Geology South, co-edited with Robert J. Fulton, was first published in 2011 with a second edition out in 2017.

Roed also includes artistic renditions of geological landmarks in each of the books, which he paints himself. In total, more than 15,000 copies of the books have been sold by Mosaic Books, Indigo Books & Music, and a number of wineries that are still carrying the latest editions. The books are distributed by Sandhill Book Marketing.

Taylor Cornett is one of the students who received the Kelowna Geology Committee award nearly three years ago. He recalls feeling humbled to receive the support from Roed and others, who are well respected in the industry.

“I have Dr. Roeds’ books on my bookshelf and I use them as a reference guide in my work,” says Cornett. “To meet him was very humbling and the award helped pay for my education.”

Cornett completed the Civil Engineering Technology Diploma at Okanagan College and was able to transfer into second-year studies at UBCO where he is in his final year of Civil Engineering.

“What he and the other contributors have done for students is so selfless. I can’t thank them enough. There are really no words that do it justice.”

Helen Jackman, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director, says the College is incredibly grateful for the legacy built by Roed and the other authors.

“Their support has lifted nearly 100 aspiring engineers, technologists and geologists into the field. It’s incredibly motivating for the next generation to know that industry leaders are supporting their education and career development,” says Jackman.

In addition to his books, Roed’s wife Debra says her husband has spent several decades volunteering his time to give talks at schools, neighbourhood groups and conferences for free.

“He’s really put his time and energy into educating the public. It’s just the kind of guy he is. He is a very generous person and generous with his time.”

The Geological Association of Canada awarded Murray the E.R. Ward Neale medal in 2013, presented annually for an individual’s sustained outstanding efforts in sharing earth science with the general public. Recently, Murray was elected as a Distinguished Member by the Association, and was honoured with a 50-year pin.

To learn more about Murray Roed’s work and books, visit

Tags: OC Foundation, Civil Engineering, Technologies, Inside OC



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