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Time To Move On

Written by Dennis Sun


In last week’s Roundup, Frank Galey, dean of the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, wrote a letter to the editor explaining the benefits of the sale of the Y-Cross Ranch northwest of Cheyenne to the Ag College.

I have to admit that I don’t know a whole lot about the sale or the discussions that let up to the sale of the ranch, and I realize that maybe I should have known more, as I’m a member of Dean Galey’s Advisory Board. There were some questions from the Advisory Board at a couple of meetings, but as we only meet twice a year, it was hard to keep up on the issue. John Clay, a member of the UW Foundation, did give some brief remarks once. 

The sale of the Y-Cross Ranch did take a few years, and if my facts are right, it was donated by the Courtenay C. Davis Foundation around August 1997. The Y-Cross Ranch was owned legally by the C.C. Davis and Co. LLC. Courtenay graduated from the University of Wyoming, and his daughter Amy graduated from Colorado State University (CSU). That is why the ranch was donated to both universities. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be in partners on a Wyoming ranch with an out-of-state university. It would take a lot to make it work. After the ranch was donated, both universities set up an advisory board to set goals for the ranch and provide guidance to the ranch manager. There was also a vision statement in the agreement of the donation. 

Also in this agreement, as I understand it, was a clause stating that the ranch could be sold after 14 years, and both ag college deans thought it was best to sell the ranch to help more students in various ways with the dollars from the sale. Both deans were on the management committee of the ranch. After the 14 years had elapsed, either university could sell it to the other or both could opt to sell it. Both deans agreed to sell, and both universities and their respective foundations agreed with them. Amy Davis did not want the ranch sold and went to court to block the sale of the ranch. She lost all cases. 

You all know that we have all heard plenty of rumors about the sale, as there are with any ranch sale, and it is the business of the decision makers to make the deal. Even though the universities, which belong to the states, owned the ranch, it was their decision to sell, which is why there are college deans and college presidents to make decisions. They answer to the trustees and to the legislatures for state funding. We may all have our opinions about the sale, but they are just that, opinions.

We put good people in good positions and let them do their jobs. As Dean Galey said, “This sale offers tremendous opportunities for the students and faculty of the Ag College,” and now the decisions to manage the funds from the sale are up to each ag college. We wish them well, especially UW Ag College, in doing what is right for its students.