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March 29, 2018

The Virginia Museum of Natural History has received a $100,000 gift from Bill and Mary Jane Henika in honor of the late Pete Henika, brother of Bill.  The gift will establish the Pete Henika Memorial Fund, an endowment fund supporting high-impact research projects in the field of geology and other natural history disciplines.

“The museum is honored to receive such an exceptional gift from the Henika family in honor of the late Pete Henika,” said Dr. Joe Keiper, executive director of VMNH.  “This gift will allow the museum to fund impactful, field-based research on an annual basis and help further the museum’s role as a leader in scientific research in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Bill and Mary Jane Henika have been supporters of the museum since 2007, while Bill Henika has served as a museum research associate since 2001.  Bill Henika is widely considered to be one of the foremost experts on Virginia's geology.

“The Henika family has long been extraordinary supporters and advocates of this museum and Bill has been a professional colleague of the museum’s curator of earth sciences, Dr. Jim Beard, for many years,” said Keiper.  “We’re extremely thankful that the Henika family name will continue to be a staple of the museum’s scientific research endeavors for the years to come.”

Manly Boyd, president of the Virginia Museum of Natural History Foundation Board, echoed the statement.

"The Pete Henika Memorial Fund provides the museum a tremendous opportunity to play an even larger role in advancing scientific research here in Virginia," said Boyd.  "We are extremely grateful to the Henika family for being such avid supporters of the museum and its scientific programs over many years."

An announcement of the first project to be supported by the newly formed endowment will be made in the coming weeks.

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