Alumnus Dr. George R. Newkome Awards $1 Million Gift for Endowed Professorship in Materials Science at Kent State

George R. Newkome, Ph.D., and his wife, Mary Jane Saunders, Ph.D., have pledged $1 million to fund a first-ever professorship in materials science in Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Newkome is a two-time Kent State alumnus.

“George and Mary Jane both have a passion and desire to advance scientific discovery,” says Kent State President Beverly J. Warren. “We are so pleased that they recognize and appreciate Kent State’s upward trajectory in advanced materials science and have chosen to support the recruitment and retention of talented faculty members.”

Dr. Newkome has a long and distinguished affiliation with Kent State. A native of Akron, Ohio, he received a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in chemistry in 1961 and 1966, respectively, from the College of Arts and Sciences. He currently works in the Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Dr. Saunders is the former president of FAU, and she currently serves as a professor of biological sciences at FAU.

Their gift will support the George R. Newkome Endowed Professorship in Materials Science, a first-time gift to the new Materials Science Program. The fund will provide competitive compensation and research support for especially promising faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences. Recipients will receive an annual award from the fund to further their research and professional development as teachers and scholars.

“I am so appreciative of the professors that I had while getting my B.S. and Ph.D. at Kent State University,” Dr. Newkome says. “The outstanding education I received enabled me to have a successful career as a researcher, professor and university administrator. I see that same kind of vision in President Warren and her academic and leadership team. It gives me great pleasure to be able to help support new faculty in the area of materials science as part of the strategic future for Kent State and Northeast Ohio.”

Dr. Newkome serves with distinction as an active member of the Kent State College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board. In 2016, he received the university’s prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has served on the board of numerous corporations and editorial boards, and he has published more than 500 papers and articles, 55 patents and edited or written more than 20 scientific books and monographs.

“George is Kent State through and through,” says James L. Blank, dean of Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences. “His gift comes at a time when we are making substantial investments, both in research and education. George’s gift will have a major impact on students for decades to come.”

For more information about Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, visit

POSTED: Thursday, July 12, 2018 11:22 AM
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 23, 2024 02:55 AM
Deb McGuinness