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Education

University of Akron Gets $3 Million Endowment for Polymers

Luncheon in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering buiilding
Tim Rudell
/
WKSU
Announcement Luncheon

The University of Akron’s Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering program got a boost today from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Foundation is funding the W. Gerald Austen Chair in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering to the tune of $3 million.

Dr. Austen (3rd from left) talking about grant
Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU
Albert Ibarguen, Matthew WIlson, W. Gerald Austen, Eric Amis

Foundation President Alberto Ibarguen says the grant is partly to help the university and community become a Silicon Valley for the polymer industry. But it is also to honor Austen, a retired foundation board member who was born in Akron -- and to help the university move ahead.

“Given Jerry’s long, long commitment to Akron and the university, this was the logical place.  And, with a new administration at the university, this is a good time for people who are interested in the success of Akron to re-commit.”

The grant brings the Knight Foundation’s support for the University of Akron up to $27 million since it began assisting the school in the 1950s.

austen_u_of_a_crucial.mp3
Dr. W. Gerald Austen talks about the importance of the University of Akron

Austen is an internationally acclaimed surgeon and medical innovator. Although he has long been a tenured professor at Harvard, he has actively supported Akron and the University of Akron for more than half a century.

“Every great city needs a great university. And I do feel that the University of Akron is crucial, is the most important not-for-profit entity in Akron. And is so important to determine the future of Akron.”