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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Receives Welch Foundation Grant

Chemistry lab

The Lamar University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has been awarded the departmental research grant by the Welch Foundation. The $120,000 grant will be given to LU over the next three years.

“The principal objectives of the grant are to foster enhanced research activities and productivity within the department while at the same time offering enriched educational opportunities for the students,” said Xiangyang Lei, assistant professor of organic chemistry at LU.

The Welch Foundation is one of the United States’ largest private funding sources for chemical research. Since its founding in 1954, the organization has contributed to the advancement of chemistry through research grants, departmental programs, endowed chairs and other special projects at universities, college, and other educational institutions in Texas.

The Foundation hosts an annual chemical research conference in Houston that attracts hundreds of the leading chemists and sponsors the Welch Award in Chemistry. It also bestows the Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research, an award that recognizes the work of scientists who are early in their careers and working in Texas.

The Welch Foundation is a legacy of Robert Alonzo Welch, who came to Houston as a youth and later made his fortune in oil and minerals. Over the course of his career and life, he became convinced of the importance of chemistry for the betterment of the world. His belief in science and the role it would play in the future would be fulfilled in part through his generosity, as expressed in his will: “I have long been impressed with the great possibilities for the betterment of Mankind that lay in the field of research in the domain of Chemistry.” With his death in 1952, he left a generous portion of his estate to his employees and their families. The balance began what is now The Welch Foundation.