The has announced a $3 million gift to the to endow a chair in polymer science and engineering.
The gift will establish the W. Gerald Austen Endowed Chair in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering in support of groundbreaking research that contributes to the reputation of the university's as a destination for talented scientists and engineers who want to work on advanced materials with medical applications. Matthew Becker, professor of polymer science, has been named the inaugural holder of the Austen chair.
In naming the chair after Dr. W. Gerald Austen, a renowned cardiac and thoracic surgeon, clinical investigator, and co-inventor of the open-heart surgery bypass machine, the foundation aims to underscore the importance it places on innovation and applied research in medicine. Austen was a friend and longtime personal physician to Jack and James Knight, the brothers who established the Knight Foundation. He also served on the foundation's board for twenty-four years, including fourteen as its chair.