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C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry


The C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry provides the opportunity for students to become leaders in all fields of chemistry. There are lecture courses in the general areas of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, in addition to more specialized courses. Undergraduates are encouraged to participate in research with faculty mentors, developing the ability to understand complex concepts. Graduate researchers work independently in their chosen fields in addition to teaching undergraduate laboratory courses.


In 1994, the Bennetts established a $1.6 million endowment to create the C. Eugene and Edna  P. Bennett Careers for Chemists Program and the C. Eugene Bennett Chair in Chemistry at WVU. The Bennett  Program acquaints high school students, undergraduate students and graduate students in chemistry with the  variety of career opportunities that are available to them. The program brings professionals from around  the country to campus to interact with students and discuss the usefulness of a degree in chemistry as the  basis for career opportunities. 

Professor Kenneth Showalter, an internationally respected researcher in nonlinear  chemical dynamics, was named the C. Eugene Bennett Chair in Chemistry in 1996. During the Building Greatness  Campaign, Mrs. Edna Bennett Pierce donated over $2 million to the Eberly College  of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Chemistry to establish the C. Eugene  Bennett Chemistry Program Enhancement Fund, the C. Eugene Bennett Graduate Fellowship Program in  Chemistry and the C. Eugene Bennett Academic Enrichment Endowment. Resources  were also made available to create an endowment for library acquisitions to benefit the department directly . Additionally, recent gifts from Mrs. Edna Bennett Pierce and the Bennett family total more than  $2 million and will create the C. Eugene Bennett Teaching Professorship in Chemistry, an additional academic  enrichment fund for chemistry majors and an undergraduate scholarship program within the C. Eugene Bennett  Department of Chemistry.


In the fall of 2003, the WVU Board of Governors gave the University permission to designate the Department of  Chemistry as the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry in recognition of the philanthropy of Dr. Bennett,  Mrs. Edna Bennett Pierce and the entire Bennett family. The department was named  the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry on April 13, 2004. In conjunction with A State of Minds: The  Campaign for West Virginia’s University, Mrs. Edna Bennett Pierce provided a gift of $200,000 in support of renovations to the  research laboratories in the department in 2014. The Bennett name will continue to represent  an enduring philosophy of dedication and vision for future generations of chemistry students and researchers  at West Virginia University.