Thomas and UW Alumni Association Team Up for Johnson County Fairgrounds Foundation Donation

D. Michael Thomas, this year’s recipient of the University of Wyoming Alumni Association’s (UWAA) Building a Better Wyoming Award, has chosen the Johnson County Fairgrounds Foundation in Buffalo as the beneficiary of a $15,000 donation from the McMurry Foundation.

A sign that reads "Welcome - Johnson County Fairgrounds - Speed Limit 10mph" in fancy tan, brown, and gold lettering. The sign is in a park-like area with trees, roads, buildings.
Entrance to the Johnson County Fairgrounds.

Thomas, a distinguished sculptor and UW alumnus from Buffalo, received the Building a Better Wyoming Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the state’s cultural heritage through his art. The award includes a $15,000 donation from the McMurry Foundation, allowing the honorees to support Wyoming nonprofit organizations of their choice.

“The Johnson County Fairgrounds Foundation Board is honored and humbled due to Mike Thomas selecting our organization as the recipient of the $15,000 donation on behalf of the McMurry Foundation,” say representatives of the fairground’s foundation. “As a nonprofit organization in a small community, every dollar counts. We would like to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to Mike and the McMurry Foundation for this thoughtful gesture.”

Thomas says the Johnson County Fairgrounds is the hub of the community.

“They cater to our youth through 4-H, FFA, and rodeos and hold many functions in the community building, such as weddings, funerals, dances, and auctions,” he says. “I am thrilled to be able to help them out through the generosity of the McMurry Foundation.”

The donation will be placed in the general fund and will be used to help the Johnson County Fair Board pay for much-needed capital projects at the fairgrounds and to support selected community youth agriculture programs.

“We try to help where we can. Mike’s donation will go a long way toward achieving our goals within the Johnson County community,” fairgrounds foundation board members say.

For more information about the UWAA and its programs, call the UWAA office at (307) 766-4166 or email

This story was originally published on UW News.

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