With a lead gift of $425,000 to Cal Poly's College of Science and Mathematics, Dunn-Edwards Co. has provided the keystone donation in establishing the university's first endowed chair.
The Arthur C. Edwards Endowed Chair for Coatings Technology and Ecology, named for one of the founders of Dunn-Edwards Corp., is the first step in creating the western regional center for polymers and coatings chemistry (a long-term goal arising from a 12-year association between the university's Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and the coatings industry).
The endowed chair will support a faculty position in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. The department plans to search outside the university to recruit an expert -- from industry or academia -- who is well established in the coatings industry.
Ken Edwards and Edward Edwards, Arthur Edwards' sons now running the family-owned corporation, in addition to the corporation's gift, have donated $75,000 and $25,000 respectively.
Eighteen pledges from companies and individuals totaling more than $1 million will fully fund the endowment. Adding to the endowment are the following individuals and corporations that have, to date, made significant pledges, including Smiland Paint Co. for $100,000; DuPont, $90,000; Rohm and Haas, $75,000; Engineered Polymers Solutions; Kronos Inc.; Vista Paint Corp.; Ishihara Corp; Ellis Paint Co; Millennium Inorganic Chemicals; Hansteck Corp.; the Los Angeles Society for Coating Technology, Joe Reilly; and Burgess Pigment Co.; E.T. Horn; and Jim Calkin.
"This is indeed an historic day," Cal Poly President Warren J. Baker said. "As we are about to celebrate the university's centennial, we are pleased to have raised the more than $1 million necessary to establish the endowed chair. A truly significant milestone -- a first in Cal Poly's history -- that could not have been possible without the close working relationships among industry, faculty and the university.
"I am grateful to the Edwards family, Dunn-Edwards, and all the people responsible for helping to create the university's first endowed chair," he added.
Bob Smiland, owner of Smiland Paint Co., seconded Baker's sentiments. "Good and worthwhile projects deserve a quick response, and the industry provided that support to this outstanding program," Smiland said.
Cal Poly's long association with the coatings industry led the university's Chemistry and Biochemistry Department to develop a coatings concentration. No other university west of the Mississippi offers this type of chemistry program.
The industry-university partnership also resulted in the establishment of an Industrial Advisory Council, which created the endowed chair as its first project, according to Phil Bailey, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.
"The endowed chair is the culmination of 12 years of a very close and always-growing educational and professional partnership between the faculty and students in Cal Poly's polymers and coatings concentration and very generous and forward-looking people in the industry. The gifts will make it possible to create a center of excellence that will benefit both Cal Poly and industry and provide special opportunities for both," Bailey said.
"I especially admire the leadership of Ken Edwards of Dunn-Edwards Corp. and the inspiration of all involved in establishing the chair in the name of his father," he said.
"It is an extreme pleasure to be part of this historic marriage between Cal Poly and the coatings industry," Ken Edwards said.
"It is important to understand that the funding of the Arthur C. Edwards Chair is only the tip of the iceberg for the program between industry and the university. "Any endowed chair must also have the backing for equipment and research fellowships in order to have the quality of program that we expect. The next thrust is, obviously, then the development of this second endowment. To this end, we are looking forward to creating 100 percent participation by the coatings companies here in the West," Edwards added.
Cal Poly's Chemistry and Biochemistry Department has almost 300 students enrolled in its Bachelor of Science degree programs in chemistry and biochemistry. The department is one of six in the College of Science and Mathematics.
For more information, call Cary Bowdich, director of advancement for the College of Science and Mathematics at (805) 756-5713.
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