UpDate - Vol. 13, No. 9, Page 1
October 28, 1993
Honorary degree awarded at laboratory dedication

     The University's newest academic space was officially opened Friday
with the dedication of the $20-million Lammot du Pont Laboratory, a
state-of-the-art facility housing research space for the Department of
Chemistry and Biochemistry and the College of Marine Studies.
     At the dedication ceremony, an honorary doctor of science degree was
conferred upon Howard E. Simmons, retired vice president and senior science
adviser at the DuPont Co. A member of the University of Delaware Research
Foundation (UDRF), Simmons served as president of that group from 1986-92,
and has been an adjunct faculty member in the University's Department of
Chemistry and Biochemistry for more than 20 years.
     Edward G. Jefferson, vice chairman of the University's Board of
Trustees, conferred the degree on Simmons, calling him "a gifted man, who
has used his talents well....
     "Through your efforts, you've helped make discovery possible for
generations of researchers, scholars and students yet to come," Jefferson
told Simmons. "Your career epitomizes the highest standards of teaching,
research, service and commitment, and your many friends and colleagues
salute you for this abiding commitment."
     "I, of course, want to thank the board, the faculty, President Roselle
for this truly fine honor," Simmons said. "I'm pleased that it's been given
at the time of a dedication of a new chemistry building.... This new
facility, to me, reinforces the University's support for the physical
sciences and chemistry in particular....
     "The chemistry department here at the University has steadily grown in
stature over all the 40 years that I've been watching it. It excels now
both in teaching and research and has some world-class people and projects.
I want the bright young scientists who will work in these new quarters to
be as unfettered as they have been in the past and to continue the fine
tradition they're establishing."
     Also speaking at the ceremony was Nobel laureate Daniel Nathans,
Delaware '50, who is University Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics
and senior investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine.
     "How good it is to be here again, to celebrate the dedication of the
new chemistry and biochemistry laboratories," Nathans said. "I come today
with another graduate of the University's chemistry department, my sister
Fanny, who preceded me here, as did all but one of our many siblings. For
us, going to college meant going to the University of Delaware, and what a
great privilege it was....
     "The opening of a new laboratory building at a University dedicated to
research and teaching is certainly an occasion to celebrate, to celebrate
the achievements and the promise of university science," he said
     "I think it's important to recognize the remarkable advances in
science and technology that flow from university science-in the mainstream
of chemistry, in chemical theory, catalysis, reaction kinetics, analytical
methods, chemical synthesis. The increased depth of understanding is
breathtaking for those of us who are on the periphery of basic chemistry,"
Nathans said.
     "And from this understanding have come theories of great predictive
power. In the hands of imaginative scientists, this has been transformed
into the development of new materials, polymers, drugs. We can confidently
predict that the applications of discoveries in basic chemistry will
continue to have enormous impact on the economic health of our country and
on the well-being of each of us and our children....
     "What about the charge, which comes from many thoughtful people, that
research-oriented universities have neglected teaching? In my view, this
charge must be taken seriously," he said.
     "It is a challenge to pay more attention to the needs of our students.
What is unique about universities is their educational role. Our primary
responsibility as faculty members is to help young people become fuller
human beings and contributing members of society. I believe whatever is
done at a university, including research in the natural sciences, should be
linked to education. Fortunately, discovery and education fit naturally
together. Their tight coupling in our universities is generally considered
one of the most important factors in American preeminence in science and
science education....
     "If a wedge is driven between discovery and sharing, both research and
education will suffer. In my opinion, the appropriate response to the
challenge of our critics is not to separate discovery and teaching but to
bring them even closer together," Nathans said. "So, to the community of
scholars, professors and students who occupy the Lammot du Pont Laboratory,
now and in the future, I wish you many joyful days of discovery and
sharing."
     The 34,000-square-foot facility includes seven synthetic laboratories
for organic, inorganic and organometallic chemistries, five laboratories
housing state-of-the-art mass spectrometry instrumentation, an
electro-chemistry laboratory, a marine studies laboratory and a lab housing
FT-IR and FT-Raman instrumentation for energetic materials. In addition,
the new building contains clean rooms, offices, support spaces and
conference rooms.
     The Baltimore firm of Ayers/Saint/ Gross provided architectural
services for the design of the facility, with local assistance from
Moeckel-Carbonell Associates of Wilmington. EDiS of Wilmington served as
construction manager.
     The new laboratory is named in honor of Lammot du Pont (1831-1884),
recognizing his contributions in the field of explosives chemistry, which
profoundly affected the development of the DuPont Co.
     His achievements include the invention of "soda powder," the first
low-cost industrial explosive, for use in the construction of canals, dams
and railroads and in the mining industry. He also introduced the
manufacture of dynamite into the United States, under a license from Alfred
Nobel.