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University of Akron Gets $3 Million Endowment for Polymers

Luncheon in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering buiilding
Tim Rudell
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.

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.”