During the 15 years since the John Stauffer Charitable Trust's $1 million challenge grant to Occidental led to the creation of a permanent endowment to support chemistry students participating in the College's Summer Research Program, Stauffer trustees have seen first-hand the impact the grant has had.
"Trustees have regularly visited Oxy and met the nearly 200 students supported by the endowment, hearing about their research and future plans, and becoming friends with the chemistry faculty who serve as mentors for students," says Michael R. Whalen, one of three co-trustees of the Trust together with Timothy Gosney and William F. Kruse.
The Trust's latest gift to Oxy, a $2.5 million grant to endow the new John Stauffer Chair of Chemistry to recognize exceptional professors who are acknowledged leaders in teaching, research and scholarship, "is a celebration of the success of the summer research program in chemistry and an acknowledgment of the essential contribution of the chemistry faculty to the program," Whalen says.
"We are tremendously grateful to the John Stauffer Charitable Trust for this latest expression of support for our chemistry and science programs, which have a long and distinguished history of hands-on teaching and research excellence," says Occidental President Harry J. Elam, Jr.
The first holder of the Stauffer Chair, to be awarded to a tenured faculty member of full professor rank, "an expert in the field of chemistry and nationally recognized in the field for his or her teaching, research, scholarship and publications," will be announced in Spring 2023.
The Stauffer Chair is the Chemistry Department's third endowed professorship, joining the Carl F. Braun Professorship in Chemistry (now held by Eileen Spain) and the Fletcher Jones Foundation Professor in Chemistry (currently held by Michael Hill.)
Research is at the core of Oxy's science curriculum at Oxy, central to a rich, hands-on laboratory experience in classes and research projects with faculty mentors. Nearly all chemistry majors participate in the Summer Research Program and many go on to co-author papers in peer-reviewed journals and present their research at national and international conferences.
"We look forward to honoring and congratulating the first holder of the Stauffer Chair," Whalen says.