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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 1, 2005

$2.85 Million Carver Grant To Aid Chemistry Building, Faculty

The University of Iowa Department of Chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has received a $2.85 million grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine to help renovate research laboratories in the 85-year-old Chemistry Building and permit the department to continue its strong faculty hiring initiative.

The grant will complement a $35.2 million Chemistry Building renovation project approved by the Board of Regents and the State of Iowa. The goal of the state renovation is to create state-of-the-art teaching laboratories and some new research facilities. In addition, $1.4 million to be contributed by the UI will provide necessary infrastructure to allow the Carver Trust award to focus on renovation of research space.

The first portion of the Carver Trust grant will renovate about 2,300 square feet of research laboratory space on the first floor by August 2006, ensuring that the department will be able to continue its aggressive faculty-hiring plan without interruption. In the later years of the award, more than 11,000 additional square feet of research space on the third and fourth floors will be renovated through the Carver Trust award.

"Growth in the Chemistry Department from its current size of 26 faculty to at least 32 is essential, not only for students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, but also for programs in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and in the Colleges of Engineering, Nursing, Dentistry and Pharmacy," said David Wiemer, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry. "Programs in these other colleges depend on us to teach their students and to provide essential collaborators for their faculty.

"Without the Carver Trust grant and the additional laboratory space it will provide, the combination of successful faculty hiring and the short-term loss of space during the state-funded renovation project would create an acute shortage of research space for additional faculty hires," he said.

"This award reflects both the Board's longstanding interest in enhancing science education at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and its desire to continue to assist the many chemistry faculty researchers who have received Trust grants over the years," stated Troy Ross, executive administrator of the Carver Trust.  "Improving laboratories will increase research productivity, which should, in turn, help to leverage additional support for facilities and programs in this fundamental discipline."

"The overall renovation project includes extensive remodeling of selected Chemistry Building research areas and is an important part of a coordinated effort to renovate essentially all Chemistry Department research, teaching and service space in the historic Chemistry Building," said Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The state-funded portion of the project will create 10 new instructional laboratories in the central core of the building and renovate space in the northeast wing to make it appropriate for chemical research. The Carver Trust funding will renovate research space in the southeast, southwest, and west-central sections.

"Our objective is to upgrade all Chemistry Department teaching and research space in this building to current standards by the end of 2008," said Wiemer. "Modern laboratories will be constructed to enhance interdisciplinary activities, to allow the Department of Chemistry to continue its aggressive plans to expand the faculty in cutting-edge areas of chemical research and to improve safety for all student, staff and faculty researchers."

The grant from the Carver Trust will promote efficiency and save money by adapting plans already developed for the state-funded project. It also will minimize the disruption to teaching and research of the faculty and staff and students.

"We are extremely grateful to the Carver Trust for recognizing the university's current strength and future potential in chemistry and for appreciating the impact this award will have on chemistry education and research at the UI," Maxson said.

The UI Department of Chemistry is an energetic and dynamic, research-oriented program that teaches more than 6,700 undergraduate and graduate students each academic year. The research interests of the chemistry faculty encompass a multitude of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary topics central to the fields of bioscience, environmental science and materials science. Chemistry faculty hold leadership roles in interdisciplinary research centers including: the Optical Science and Technology Center, Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, and the Biosciences Program.

The Carver Trust was created through the will of Roy J. Carver, a Muscatine industrialist and philanthropist, who died in 1981. It is the largest private philanthropic foundation in the state of Iowa, and has awarded nearly 1,200 individual grants since 1987. The current grant in support of the UI's chemistry program was made through the UI Foundation.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu; Program: Hazel Kerr, Department of Chemistry Senior Administrator, 319-335-1351, hazel-kerr@uiowa.edu