A $2.5 million grant from the John Stauffer Charitable Trust of Pasadena will endow the new John Stauffer Chair of Chemistry to recognize exceptional professors who are acknowledged leaders in teaching, research and scholarship.

The award is the latest expression of support for Oxy chemistry from the Trust; a $1 million challenge grant in 2007 made it possible for the College to create a $3.5 million permanent endowment to support chemistry and biochemistry students participating in its nationally recognized Summer Research Program. Since then, the endowment has made it possible for almost 200 students to engage in summer research.

"We are tremendously grateful to the John Stauffer Charitable Trust for this latest expression of support for our chemistry and science programs, which have a long and distinguished history of hands-on teaching and research excellence," says Occidental President Harry J. Elam, Jr.

"For the last 15 years, the trustees of the Trust have regularly visited Oxy's campus, meeting with students and faculty to learn about their research and future plans. With this new $2.5 million grant establishing the Stauffer Chair of Chemistry, the Trust is celebrating the success of the Oxy summer research program in chemistry and acknowledging the ongoing essential contribution of the chemistry faculty to the program," says Michael R. Whalen, Trust co-chair. "We look forward to honoring and congratulating the first professor selected as the Stauffer Chair."

The first holder of the Stauffer Chair, to be awarded to a tenured faculty member of full professor rank who is "an expert in the field of chemistry and nationally recognized in the field for his or her teaching, research, scholarship and publications," will be announced in spring 2023.

The Stauffer Chair is the Chemistry Department's third endowed professorship, joining the Carl F. Braun Professorship in Chemistry (now held by Eileen Spain) and the Fletcher Jones Foundation Professor in Chemistry (currently held by Michael Hill).

Research is at the core of Oxy's science curriculum, central to a rich, hands-on laboratory experience in classes and research projects with faculty mentors. Nearly all chemistry majors participate in Oxy’s Summer Research Program, and many go on to co-author papers in peer-reviewed journals and present their research at national and international conferences. 

The program has produced three Rhodes Scholars, 28 Goldwater Scholars, and 17 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellows. Over the past 25 years, Oxy chemistry majors have had a 100% acceptance rate into graduate programs in chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical engineering, and an 89% acceptance rate into medical, dental, pharmacy, and M.D./Ph.D. programs.

The John Stauffer Charitable Trust was established in 1974 by John Stauffer, executive vice president of the Stauffer Chemical Co., which extracted chemicals and mineral deposits from San Francisco Bay. Grants are made to American hospitals, universities, and colleges for projects and programs that link science and medicine in education, research, and treatment, and those which emphasize chemistry.