The Western Coatings Foundation has donated more than $123,000 to buy equipment for the coatings program in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Two checks -- one for almost $27,000 and another for more than $96,000 -- were presented recently to Dane Jones, chemistry professor and director of the university's polymers and coatings program, and Paul Zingg, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
The College of Science and Mathematics will use the $26,743 donation to purchase state-of-the-art testing and analyzing equipment.
The $96,651 gift established the Polymers and Coatings Equipment Endowment fund, providing a perpetual source of funding for purchases that will enable polymers and coatings students to "learn by doing" on the very latest equipment.
The donations were made in memory of four coatings industry executives who were instrumental in developing what has become a popular program in the College of Science and Mathematics.
The late Dave Kittredge, a Cal Poly soil-science graduate, and Bob Abrams were two of the four coatings industry executives in whose names the gifts were made.
"These individuals, along with Ken Edwards of Dunn-Edwards and Jim Calkin of E. T. Horn Co., were instrumental in founding the polymers and coatings program at Cal Poly more than a decade ago," said Joe Reilly, co-trustee of the Western Coatings Foundation. "Ken and Jim also tirelessly coordinated various fund-raising events over the intervening years that consistently raised the money to maintain it."
"The money raised was critical because we received no general support money from the state," Jones said. "We were able to buy essential supplies and equipment, as well as provide money for students and faculty members to attend national conferences. It was -- and is -- a fully self-sustaining program, thanks to steadfast industry support."
The other men in whose names the recent donations were made are Earl Smith and Chuck Miyada, two highly regarded coatings industry executives and advocates.
"Memorial funds collected in the early '90s were invested wisely and served to support the ongoing program as the funds grew," said Reilly.
In 1987 Kittredge, Abrams and Edwards approached Cal Poly about developing a concentration that would prepare students for careers in the polymers and coatings industry. Once established, the program became immediately popular with students.
In 1989, the first week-long short course in polymer and paint technology was offered at the San Luis Obispo campus. Today the annual polymers and coatings program is the only one of its kind in the western United States.
The Arthur C. Edwards Endowed Chair for Coatings Technology and Ecology, honoring the founder of Dunn-Edwards Corp., and the Bill Moore Coatings Research Fellowship sponsored by the Kelly-Moore Paint Co., are two recently established cornerstones of the program.
"It is a fitting tribute to four of the visionaries who first proposed the polymers and coatings program at Cal Poly," Reilly said.
"The equipment endowment established with memorial funds donated in their names will perpetuate their memory throughout the life of the program."
The Western Coatings Foundation was established 11 years ago under the aegis of a large Southern California non-profit umbrella agency, the California Community Foundation, to establish and then provide ongoing support for the polymers and coatings program at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
For more information, call Cary Bowdich, director of advancement for Cal Poly's College of Science and Mathematics.
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