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Keene State Science Center, Chemistry Chair Named in Honor of David F. Putnam

KEENE, N.H., 8/24/09 - President Helen Giles-Gee announced that the Keene State Science Center has been named in honor of the late David F. Putnam. The announcement was made at a breakfast ceremony with family members at the College today.

“The naming of the Science Center in honor of David F. Putnam recognizes the cumulative support given to the College over the years by the Putnam family and the Markem Corporation. The family wanted to honor their father, David F. Putnam, for his lifetime support of chemistry and the arts and sciences,” Giles-Gee said. “In addition, and as important, the Putnam family and the College are pleased to announce the gift of an endowed chair in chemistry. The chair will fund a distinguished faculty position to further strengthen the quality of science education and research at Keene State College.”

David F. Putnam, who was 91 when he died in 2006, graduated from Dartmouth with a degree in chemistry and went on to build his family’s business into one of New Hampshire’s largest manufacturing firms. In 2006, when the company was acquired by Dover Corp. (now Markem-Imaje), Markem Corp. was recognized as an industry leader in the chemistry and technology of product marking.

Cumulative gifts associated with the Putnam family totaling more than $3 million have supported many important educational efforts across the campus over the years, including the Science Center building campaign, the Putnam Theatre/Redfern Arts Center, the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Safety Studies program, and events that engage students and the community (including the Putnam Lecture series and College symposiums).

Completed in 2004, the $23-million Science Center houses research and teaching facilities for biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental studies, geography, geology, physics, and science education. New construction in 2004 created 32 labs with modern ventilation and safety features, and added sophisticated equipment to support the hands-on, interdisciplinary science and student research that distinguishes the KSC curriculum. An award-winning outdoor courtyard at the center of the building provides a living classroom: the space is filled with plants native to the region, and a walkway depicts the area’s geologic history.

Since the opening of the new Science Center in 2004, the College has seen dramatic growth in chemistry enrollment, grant activity by faculty, undergraduate research activity, and presentations at regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society. The KSC chemistry department is pursuing national accreditation from the American Chemical Society, which recognizes departments meeting the highest standards. The new endowed position will be critical in meeting ACS staffing standards and will further strengthen the high quality teaching and research that is now the hallmark of this department.

“This endowed position will enable us to attract and retain a well-established chemist who we expect will become a catalyst in the department’s ongoing efforts to achieve a national reputation for excellence in teaching and research at the college level,” said Gordon Leversee, dean of Sciences and Social Science.

The Putnam family has long been actively involved with Keene State College: David F. Putnam received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Keene State in 1975; his wife, Rosamond Castle Page Putnam, chaired the Friends of the Thorne for many years, and was named an Outstanding Woman of New Hampshire in 1991; James A. Putnam chaired the capital campaign for the construction of the Science Center, and was an honorary degree recipient in 2006; and Thomas Putnam was the KSC Granite State Award recipient in 1999.

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