LOS ANGELES - M.C. Gill Corp.'s founder and chairman has pledged $7 million to support the composite materials center in the engineering school at the University of Southern California.
Merwyn C. Gill endowed the center with $5 million through a foundation and will provide $250,000 annually for eight years to support operations. The center will be renamed the Merwyn C. Gill Foundation Composites Center.
``The world of material science has advanced tremendously since my early days, and composite materials are an increasingly important aspect of our everyday lives,'' said Gill, who at 91 is active in the business on a daily basis.
The center in Los Angeles intends to leverage Gill's gift to attract additional external funds, center director Steven Nutt said by telephone.
``It is quite unusual to have an endowment of research and education programs,'' said Nutt, who since 1996 has held the M.C. Gill chair in composite materials.
The endowment will generate a perpetual stream of revenue.
A 1937 graduate of USC, Gill began making laminated wall coverings in the mid-1940s. The concept evolved into a puncture-resistant liner for aircraft cargo compartments.
The family-operated firm in El Monte, Calif., is the world's largest maker of cargo liners for passenger and freight aircraft, and it makes passenger-compartment floor panels. M.C. Gill employs about 560 and projects annual sales of $90 million, including the joint acquisition of Alcore Inc. of Edgewood, Md., and Brigantine SA of Biarritz, France, in June.