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Endowed Chairs Honor Founding Faculty

Riverside, Ca –

Alumni Donor Pledges $6 Million to Endow 
Chairs Honoring Chemistry Founding Faculty


A generous alumni donor has pledged $6 million to UC Riverside to establish endowed chairs honoring four of the founding faculty of the Department of Chemistry: emeritus professors George Helmkamp, Harold (Harry) Johnson, Donald (Don) Sawyer and Hartland (Hart) Schmidt. They are collectively known as the Chemistry Founder's Endowed Chairs. 

The establishment of the chairs was announced by CNAS Interim Dean Cynthia K. Larive during homecoming events on campus Saturday, November 14, 2015. Dean Larive recognized Sawyer and Schmidt, who attended the event, along with the families of the late George Helmkamp and Harry Johnson.

"We are deeply appreciative of this generous gift, which will allow us to hire four outstanding new faculty in chemistry,” said Dean Larive. “We are also thankful for the donor’s desire to recognize these faculty who paved the way for our very successful program in chemistry, which was recently ranked 41st in the world.”

The early years of the Department of Chemistry at UCR are chronicled here:

Presentation by Donald Sawyer at the department's 50th anniversary celebration

"An anecdotal history from the undocumented memories of several players for the years 1954-84" 
by G.K. Helmkamp, H.W. Johnson, Jr., R.C. Newman, Jr., and M.F. Rettig



George Helmkamp
George Helmkamp
Joined faculty in chemistry in 1953
Department chair, 1970-74



Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson
Joined faculty in chemistry in 1954
Department chair, 1963-66


Hartland Schmidt

Hartland Schmidt
Joined faculty in chemistry in 1955
Department chair, 1974-78


Donald Sawyer

Donald Sawyer
Joined faculty in chemistry in 1956
Department chair, 1966-69
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