Efforts to upgrade the Chemical Engineering Department’s undergraduate laboratory at West Virginia University received a major boost Friday (Nov. 2) when Dow Chemical Co. gave a half-million dollars to the project.

Executives with Dow Chemical, the worlds leading chemicals, plastics and agricultural products company, presented a $500,000 check to WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. during a brief afternoon ceremony on WVU s Morgantown Campus.

“We are very appreciative of the leading gift made by Dow Chemical Company to this important project,”said Dady Dadyburjor, chair of the department in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.”It is imperative that we support students in their academic endeavors by supplying them with the best tools possible. Dow will have made an impact on our students and our department for many years into the future.”

The lab upgrade the Dow gift will support is imperative to maintaining a state-of-the-art learning environment that will allow the department to be more competitive with its peers. With the rapid advances in technology, the number of these techniques that a new chemical engineer needs to learn has grown since the lab was last updated. Proposed upgrades include the addition of modern computer-controlled experiments and more sophisticated analytical equipment.

The two-level laboratory was recently named in honor of retired Professor Alfred F. Galli, who taught for four decades in the department. The lower level will now be known as the Dow Level in honor of the companys support of the laboratory.

Peter Berner, vice president of Dows West Virginia operations, said the WVU chemical engineering program”has had a track record of recognition and success.”

“This grant is a strong vote of confidence in the leadership of WVU and its commitment to faculty and students to provide the resources to enhance the schools position as a leader in chemical engineering education and research in the years ahead,”Berner said.

Besides contributing to the education of chemical engineers, the enhanced laboratory will serve as an excellent resource for industry and play a major role in student recruiting at WVU .

Specifically, the Dow gift will:

  • Represent the start of a strong teaming initiative between Dow and the University
  • Provide a state-of-the-art chemical engineering laboratory at a major research university, where Dow researchers and faculty can also collaborate on projects that align with Dow’s core research competencies
  • Help train a highly educated employee workforce and provide a talented pool of chemical engineering graduates for Dow and other West Virginia chemical industries for generations to come
  • Provide Dow employees with opportunities for continuous learning and research endeavors, particularly those employees at the South Charleston, West Virginia Technical CenterDows third largest in the world
  • Assist with the University’s ongoing efforts to stimulate economic development in West Virginia
  • Demonstrate a long-term commitment by Dow to the state
  • Provide the leadership gift needed to stimulate additional private funds from industry

Dow is a leading science and technology company with annual sales of $30 billion. In February 2001, the company merged with Union Carbide Corp., formerly headquartered in Danbury, Conn.

The Dow gift has been made in conjunction with the Building Greatness Campaign: West Virginia University, a University-wide initiative being conducted by the WVU Foundation to raise $250 million in private support. The Foundation, a private non-profit corporation, is the designated agency to receive and administer gifts from private individuals and organizations for the benefit of West Virginia University.