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Welch Foundation Funds 2nd UTD Chair in Chemistry
$1 Million Gift Matched by University; Search for Top Scholar Begins
RICHARDSON, Texas (July 3, 2002) - The Welch Foundation of Houston has granted the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) $1 million to establish its second academic chair in chemistry funded by the philanthropic organization.
UTD matched the foundation's gift toward the endowed chair and launched a nationwide search for a top scholar to fill the position - a process university officials said could take 12 to 18 months or more.
"We greatly appreciate the outstanding support U.T. Dallas has received from the Welch Foundation, in the form of a second endowed chair as well as a number of research grants to members of our faculty," said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, the university's executive vice president and provost. "The foundation's longstanding, generous funding of basic chemistry research in Texas is a tremendous advantage to this state - one that very few other states can match."
UTD's first Welch Chair was filled last year by Dr. Ray Baughman, who joined the university from Honeywell International in New Jersey to establish and become director of the UTD NanoTech Institute. Baughman is recognized as a leading expert in the emerging field of nanoscience. In addition, two months ago, the Welch Foundation announced $300,000 in new funding to support research by two members of UTD's chemistry faculty, Dr. A. Dean Sherry and Dr. Inga Holl Musselman.
"We are delighted with the news of the second Welch chair," said Dr. John P. Ferraris, head of the UTD Chemistry Department. "This is recognition, I believe, that ours is a program on the move, with the promise of even greater things to come.
Ferraris said that he had already begun the process of identifying candidates to fill the new chair.
"I don't want to limit the search, but we will be very interested in seeking out world-class researchers in disciplines where the fields of chemistry and biology intersect," Ferraris said. "While this process typically may take months, or even years, we plan to move expeditiously to conduct and conclude the search as quickly as practicable."
The Welch Foundation was established in 1954 by the estate of Robert A. Welch, an oil and minerals entrepreneur. The foundation annually provides grants to individual researchers and underwrites 40 academic chairs in chemistry at Texas universities and medical schools. The organization also sponsors a wide array of conferences, lectures and scholarly programs to further chemistry education and research at the junior high school, high school and college levels in Texas.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor , enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at www.utdallas.edu.
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