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UC Berkeley Advances Sustainable Chemistry Education With Dow Gift

The UC Berkeley College of Chemistry will rebuild the college’s aging undergraduate teaching labs and design a new curriculum based on the principles of sustainability and green chemistry with the support of a $3.5 million gift from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation.

“I am very grateful for the support we have received from Dow,” says College of Chemistry Dean Richard A. Mathies. “This very generous and ground-breaking gift from the Dow Foundation will transform chemical sciences instruction for the 21st Century. These funds will enable us to completely renew our undergraduate instructional laboratories and our curriculum with a sharp focus on sustainable green chemical practices. The impact of this gift is huge because these courses serve thousands of students every year. Furthermore, Berkeley is now leading the way in making sustainable green chemical practices a core concept in our entire profession.”

David Kepler, Dow Executive Vice President for Business Services, Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Information Officer, and a 1975 UC Berkeley chemical engineering graduate, helped coordinate the gift. Says Kepler, “As a leading global chemistry company committed to sustainability, Dow sees the need to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers beyond traditional chemistry into the discipline of sustainable chemistry.”

Sustainable chemistry uses the principles of green chemistry in the design of products and processes which reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances while addressing environmental impact. Sustainable chemistry is applied across the life cycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture and use. Sustainable chemistry is a highly effective and innovative scientific approach to addressing solutions to real-world environmental and social situations.

To implement this new vision, funds from the Dow gift will transform the curriculum in three ways:

First, the teaching labs will be renovated to reduce the impact of their use through sustainable practices. Lab equipment, hoods and lighting will be replaced to bring it up to the latest efficiency standards.

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