Professor emeritus to fund chemistry department’s first professorship

Media Credit: Courtesy of Michael King

The Michael, Linda and Jacob King Endowed Professorship in Organic Chemistry will fund the endowed faculty position to recognize "true stars" in the field and enhance the quality of chemistry faculty, according to a GW release.

A professor emeritus of chemistry and his family will create the chemistry department’s first endowed professorship as a part of money donated to GW through their will, according to a University release issued Monday.

The Michael, Linda and Jacob King Endowed Professorship in Organic Chemistry will fund the endowed faculty position to recognize “true stars” in the field and enhance the quality of chemistry faculty, the release states. Officials said King and his family also bequeathed money to support GW Hillel, while “a majority” of the donations will fund the professorship to optimize preeminence in the chemistry department.

“This bequest reflects Dr. King’s deep commitment to GW and his remarkable legacy as a teacher, mentor and tireless advocate for enhancing the research enterprise,” Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean Paul Wahlbeck said in the release. “We are grateful to Dr. King and his wife, Linda, for their generosity and dedication to the success of GW and its community.”

King chaired the chemistry department for more than 20 years, joining GW as a professor in 1973 and retiring last year.

Christopher Cahill, the current chair of the chemistry department, said the professorship is a license to recruit and attract “big guns” to the University and will add a layer of flexibility and independence for the department going forward. He said King always envisioned a chemistry professorship during his tenure to enhance the reputation of the department at GW.

“Michael’s commitment to GW is unparalleled,” Cahill said in the release. “He’s always been selfless, given so much of himself and is dedicated to creating frameworks for others’ successes. Now, with this incredible gift he has really given us enormous capacity to support our faculty and departmental aspirations.”

Officials said King served as the CCAS Marshal for graduation for 25 years and was instrumental in the creation of the Science and Engineering Hall. King has received several University accolades for his work at GW, like the George Washington Award in 2011 and the Trachtenberg Prize for Service in 2003, according to the release.

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