New University of Florida Chemistry Building Is A “Go!” – Again
Well, it's that time of the academic year to dust off my University of Florida doctoral regalia for this weekend's commencement activities at my North Carolina institutions. It's always a delight to be reminded of my graduate school days in UF's Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
So, I was pleased to receive an email from UF that, last Thursday, the Florida Legislature really, really appropriated $20 million to complete the long-planned new Chemistry Building.
According to Jeff Schweers of The Gainesville Sun:
I'm impressed by the safety goggles and the nitrile gloves. But, um, the reptilian chemist is wearing no pants or protective footwear. It's the no pants that really troubles me. (Credit: University of Florida, Department of Chemistry)
Construction money includes $20 million for a new chemistry building, UF officials said. With the $15 million it received last year and $7 million before that, UF has $42 million toward its needed $60 million to replace the outdated, cramped, chemistry building built in 1947 with one that can meet the growing demand for class and lab space.
The University of Florida has had a chemistry program since the university's inception in 1906. Master's degrees were first awarded in 1909 and Ph.D.s in 1930. While the current chemistry facilities are not quite that old, their renovation and replacement are a bit overdue.
In 2008, C&EN ranked Florida among the top 25 U.S. schools producing chemistry graduates at all three levels (C&EN article, 23 November 2009, pg 38, by David J. Hanson).
I'm impressed that the state of Florida has taken advantage of their $1.2 billion budget surplus to reinvest in the state's higher education system. Both Florida and Florida State are receiving additional funds for recruitment of world-class faculty and will provide faculty raises after five years of no increases. Republican Governor Rick Scott has indicated that he will sign the $77.1 billion budget.
Since I left Gainesville, I've continually come across Gator Chemists in my professional travels. Here in North Carolina, I've worked with no fewer than three Florida Chemistry Ph.D.s. Much of my contact with chemists during my graduate years was with those in the medicinal chemistry department in the College of Pharmacy, "down the hill" at the J. Hillis Miller Health Center complex, before construction of the new Pharmacy building. But I attended a few seminars at the old chemistry building, usually on my way up to the Purple Porpoise (R.I.P) for oysters, wings, and cheap pitchers of beer.
So, congratulations to all of my colleagues at UF.
It's great - to be - a Florida (Chemistry) Gator!