Volume 91, Issue 20

Wednesday, October 1, 1997



Hogtown university rolling in the money after large donation

By Jeff Badger
Gazette Staff

A past graduate of the University of Toronto has donated $7 million US to her former alma mater to upgrade laboratory and classroom facilities in the school's chemistry department.

Edna Davenport, who obtained her bachelor of household science degree in 1929, made the donation which will be used to add three new floors to the Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories building, as well as upgrade existing facilities.

The donation, which is one of the largest ever received by the university, was announced as the University of Toronto launched its five year' $400 million fundraising campaign on Monday.

"The new wing of the Lash Miller Building will be named in honour of the Davenports," said Kerry Delaney, public affairs officer for the university.

"Thanks to Mrs. Davenport's generosity, the department of chemistry, ranked the best of its kind in Canada and among the top departments worldwide, will soon have the facilities to match its reputation," said university president Robert Prichard in a statement released this week.

Davenport has a longtime interest in biological and medical chemistry. Her late husband John, a 1929 engineering graduate and champion pole vaulter for the University of Toronto, has in the past funded university scholarships for needy students.

"The Lash Miller building was built in the 1960s," said Martin Moskovits, chair of the department of chemistry. "The discipline of chemistry has undergone a massive transformation since then, leading students and researchers into areas that were not even conceived of 30 years ago."

The building currently consists of two blocks – one containing classrooms, one of laboratories. Two floors will be added to the classroom section and one floor to the lab area. The result will be 40,000 square feet of state-of-the-art chemistry laboratories for faculty and students.

Of the university's $400 million fundraising campaign, more than two-thirds of the goal will be put towards endowed faculty chairs, student scholarships, fellowships and bursaries, Delaney said.

Funds will also go towards key facilities such as a new health sciences centre, enhanced facilities for physical sciences and improved information technologies in the university's libraries and classrooms, she added.

Public affairs officer Kate Eccles explained the campaign will conclude in 2002, coinciding with the university's 175th anniversary.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997