Every summer approximately 40 geology students spend six weeks in the Bighorn Mountains, Yellowstone Park, and the Black Hills at a field geology camp. It’s an expensive endeavor, and it’s time-consuming to plan. It’s physically and academically challenging for the students.

But David Malone, the field camp director and faculty member for more than 20 years, is committed to it. The geologist teaches the highly successful course Illinois State University has offered for four decades and searches for funding throughout the year. Yet he worries that if something happened to him, the capstone experience might be lost. That’s why the professor and chair of the Department of Geography-Geology took out a $100,000 life insurance policy with ISU as the beneficiary.

“I did it because this field work is important to me,” he said. “It’s important to the students and if I stopped doing it, it might not happen. At least the money’s there so if I’m not around, it’ll be easier for some folks to continue the field camp.”

The professor, an ’88 ISU alum, has taught at ISU for 17 years. He brings experience from field work in Haiti, the Midwest, Wyoming, and Alaska. He spends more than two months a year in the field with students, teaching and doing research.

“The most satisfying part of my job is seeing the students I work with realize their goals and succeed in their careers,” he said.