AKRON, OHIO — Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. earlier this year contributed $3 million to the University of Akron, a move that may help the school's College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering recruit top-flight professors for years to come, according to Frank N. Kelley, dean of the college.
Goodyear's contribution put the school over the top three years ahead of schedule in its $125 million capital campaign. It also has resulted in the university renaming its futuristic, $17 million Polymer Science Building the Goodyear Polymer Center. The soaring glass and steel building opened in 1991.
Kelley said in an interview after the announcement that he expects the polymer college's share of the new funds to help it in its worldwide search for high-quality professors.
``We're anticipating significant turnover in our faculty,'' he said, noting that as many as half of the polymer college's 30 professors will be reaching retirement age in five to seven years.
``Everything derives from the quality of faculty,'' Kelley said, ``and there is enormous competition among the top-ranked schools.
``These funds will be used to sustain [the existing faculty] and recruit their successors.''
Samir G. Gibara, Goodyear chairman, chief executive officer and president, made the announcement.
Over the years, Goodyear has donated more than $10 million to the university.
The Goodyear Polymer Center has more than 50 research labs, 20 faculty offices, 10 faculty labs and 200 student modules.
Kelley, meanwhile, also said he is working to obtain private and state funding to help build a 36,000-square-feet annex to the college's separate, 48,000-square-foot polymer engineering building.
The new facility will house badly needed classrooms, lecture halls and offices, and should be ready in four to five years.
The university also acknowledged Goodyear's latest donation in other ways, by:
Creating the Goodyear Global Scholarship Program in its College of Business Administration, and naming four annual four-year scholarships after former Goodyear chairmen — including one for Stanley C. Gault, who is well-known in the plastics industry for heading Rubbermaid Inc. before becoming Goodyear chairman from 1991-96.
Renaming the main auditorium of the nearby E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall to Goodyear Centennial Hall, in honor of this being the firm's 100th year as an Akron-based company.
Establishing a Goodyear chair for intellectual property in the university's School of Law.