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Lowrie Family Donates $17 million to Ohio State Engineering

The Ohio State University today announced a commitment of $17 million from Ernestine and William G. Lowrie, an engineering alumnus, in support of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio State. The commitment is the largest made by an individual donor to engineering at the university.

The gift will endow construction and support of a new laboratory facility, create the H.C. "Slip" Slider Professorship for an untenured faculty member in chemical and biomolecular engineering, establish a new endowed chair and provide an endowment to support new initiatives in education and research. Mr. & Mrs. LowrieErnestine and Bill Lowrie"Bill Lowrie’s support will create tremendous opportunities for generations of students," said Gregory N. Washington, interim dean of engineering. "He has served the College of Engineering in so many ways since he was a student here, and now he is making it possible to serve our students for years to come. We are so thankful for the Lowries and their generous support of our program."

"At this stage of my life, I find myself in a position where I can help and give back in a meaningful way," said Lowrie. "I wanted to move on it now, regardless of what is going on in the economy, so that I could see it happen and partially repay the university and the Department of Chemical Engineering for the huge impact they have had on my life and the lives of so many others."

In recognition of the gift, the Ohio State University Board of Trustees today approved the naming of the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering to be housed in the new Koffolt Laboratories building, which is scheduled for completion in 2014. The building will replace the older Koffolt Laboratories, named in honor of the late, highly regarded former chemical engineering professor and chair Joseph H. Koffolt.

A native of Painesville, Ohio, Lowrie received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Ohio State in 1966. He spent his entire 33-year career with Amoco, working his way up through the company in positions of increasing responsibility including president of Amoco Oil Co. in 1990, president of Amoco Production Co. in 1992 and president of Amoco from 1995 until 1998, when the company merged with BP. He then served as deputy CEO of BP Amoco until his retirement in 1999. Along with administrative and managerial contributions to Amoco, Lowrie had a major role in increasing oil production and advancing oil drilling technology.

His many contributions to Ohio State have been recognized with the Texnikoi Outstanding Alumnus Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Engineering and the Benjamin G. Lamme Meritorious Achievement Medal, the college’s highest honor. Lowrie is the only engineering alumnus to receive all three awards. In 2005, the university recognized his years of dedicated service as chair and volunteer to the Ohio State University Foundation with the Everett D. Reese Medal.

In 2008, Lowrie received the Alumni Medalist Award, the highest honor accorded by the Ohio State University Alumni Association, given to those who have gained national or international distinction as outstanding representatives of a chosen field or profession and who have brought extraordinary credit to the university and significant benefit to humankind.

Chemical and biomolecular engineers design, develop, and operate processes by which chemicals, petroleum products, food, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods can be produced economically and safely for use in products we use every day.

Ranked among the nation’s top 20 such programs at public universities, Ohio State’s College of Engineering offers students a wide variety of majors, with 18 engineering and planning disciplines from which to choose. More than 40 research centers and laboratories provide students with access to state-of-the-art facilities for research and teaching, and our 18 student project teams offer a wide variety of hands-on engineering experience and teamwork opportunities.

Contact: Gina Langen, Director of Communications, Ohio State College of Engineering,, (614) 688-4423