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University of Delaware


FAMILIAR RELATIONS
THE DU PONTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE
CONTENTS Introduction Laying the Foundation The Loyal Alumnus and the Focused Philanthropist
Gifts Timeline Program Enrichment Personal Interest Connections
Board Connections A Laboratory and a Legacy Ongoing Relations
A LAB AND A LEGACY PICTURE A LAB AND A LEGACY HEADER

In October 1993, the University dedicated the Lammot du Pont Laboratory, a twenty-million-dollar, state-of-the-art research facility for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the College of Marine Studies. Before an audience studded with du Pont family members, Dr. Edward G. Jefferson, then Vice Chairman of the University's Board of Trustees and a former President of the Du Pont Company, conferred an honorary degree on Dr. Howard Simmons, a retired senior executive at Du Pont and President of the University of Delaware Research Foundation.
In his remarks, Dr. Simmons noted that "the Chemistry Department here at the University has steadily grown in stature over all the forty years that I’ve been watching it. It excels now both in teaching and research and has some world-class people and projects." Another speaker was Dr. Daniel Nathans, a 1950 graduate of the University who became a distinguished professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Nobel Prize-winner in molecular biology. Nathans’s remarks focused on the University’s mission to provide a first-class education to students of limited means. For himself and his siblings "going to college meant going to the University of Delaware, and what a great privilege it was. . . ," the Nobel laureate said.[23]

The new building was designed to accommodate the most demanding chemical research activities. Its high-velocity exhaust fans and other air-conditioning features are crucial to the conduct of synthetic chemistry. The analytical chemistry laboratories are equipped for research in mass spectrometry and laser spectroscopy. The ground floor contains a clean room and "clean corridor" designated to receive the portable analytical laboratory that travels aboard the Marine Studies Research Vessel, Cape Henlopen. This laboratory is responsible for monitoring inorganic and organic runoff from the land into the Atlantic Ocean.[24] Two plaques are affixed to the walls of the vestibule of the new laboratory. One lists the names of those individuals and foundations that contributed to its construction. Among them are many du Ponts, mostly descendants of Lammot du Pont and their relatives by marriage. On another wall, a plaque reads: "This Building is Named In Honor of Lammot du Pont (1831-1884) Who Was a Pioneer In The Development of Chemical Technology. His Innovations Led To Standards of Excellence For The Chemical Industry Much In Evidence Today." The Lammot du Pont Laboratory, with its sophisticated laboratories housed behind a neo-Colonial architectural façade, is symbolic of what the University of Delaware has become. How great the distance from this new facility, which is one of the finest research buildings in the world, to the cramped, poorly equipped laboratory room that President George Harter had described in his letter to Pierre S. du Pont in 1912! How pleased Pierre and Rodney Sharp might be if they could see how sound their investment in the University of Delaware has turned out to be.

 

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