Approximately half of Wofford’s students declare majors that require organic chemistry. Enrollment in organic chemistry has nearly doubled since 2004, and summer school enrollments in the course have increased so much that two sections are now offered each summer.
To meet the needs of these students, and provide them with the best learning environment possible, Wofford embarked on plans to construct a new organic chemistry lab that would provide the appropriate equipment and space for this ever-growing discipline.
Lead donors to the project include the J M Smith Foundation, the Homozel Mickel Daniel Fund, and the Spartanburg Regional Foundation. Over 100 donors gave an additional $1 million towards turning this vision into a reality. The state-of-the-art, 1,800-square-foot organic chemistry lab opened to students for the fall 2011 semester.
On January 25, 2012 the lab was dedicated in memory of Dr. William P. Cavin, a Wofford graduate (Class of 1945) and beloved Professor of Chemistry from 1946-1988. As family members, faculty, staff, and donors made their way through the impressive new laboratory, current students performed demonstrations to illustrate how each piece of new equipment works. It was impossible to ignore their passion and enthusiasm as each of them spoke. Their explanations included how experiments had to be performed before the new organic lab was built, and how much easier all aspects of those experiments are now.
The new organic chemistry lab at Wofford will allow for a greater range and variety of experimentation and research for students and faculty alike. Professor Dr. Charles G. Bass had this to say about the lab and what it means for the future of the chemistry program at Wofford, "We can envision courses such as pharmaceutical chemistry coming on line and hope to have collaborative research and coursework with the new VCOM medical school. Exceptional students such as we have here at Wofford deserve nothing but the best."