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Donor Spotlight

Richard Cook and Teresa Lahti

Richard J. Cook and his wife, Teresa Lahti, have established the Richard J. Cook Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This fund supports an undergraduate in a research lab for a year. Cook graduated from the University of Michigan in 1969 with honors with a B.S. in Chemistry. His undergraduate research experience, he reports, set him on his career path. Cook earned a PhD in Chemistry from Princeton University in 1973 and then joined the faculty at Kalamazoo College. He became well known for environmental work. From 1996-2008, he served as President of Allegheny College and is now a principal of Lahti Search Consultants.

Cook was the Chemistry Commencement speaker in 2016.

Wayne A. and Carol H. Pletcher

As the Victors for Michigan campaign goes into full swing, the Department of Chemistry announces a major gift of $100,000 from Wayne A. and Carol H. Pletcher to establish a fund to support graduate students. This gift will be augmented by matching funds. “These additional graduate fellowship funds will significantly enhance our graduate program and we are very grateful for this gift,” says Carol Fierke, UM Chemistry department chair. Wayne Pletcher earned his M.S. and PhD (1970, Wiseman)  in Chemistry at the University of Michigan and was a postdoc at UM. Currently an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, he was formerly the director of Corporate Technical and Business Planning at 3M and president and CEO of Minnesota Technology, Inc. Carol Pletcher earned an M.S. in Chemistry (1968) from UM and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. She is a former vice president at Cargill and the current president of Pletcher Incorporated.

Kathy Dien Hillig and Kurt Hillig

Kurt and Kathy Hillig with their PhD advisors Mike Morris and Robert Kuczkowski

John Gladysz and Janet Bluemel

John Gladysz (B.S. 1971) a distinguished professor of chemistry and Janet Bluemel, professor of chemistry, at Texas A&M University, have pledged more than $1 million from their estate to endow the Edward and Margean Gladysz Professorship, which will provide research support for an associate professor in Chemistry. They also plan to establish a fund that will provide research support for advanced assistant professors. Additional bequests will support undergraduate students and provide discretionary support to the department. The professorship fund is named in honor of John’s parents, who have also made a generous bequest to this fund.  John’s sister, Margean V. Gladysz, has also provided a bequest through her estate to support the professorship. John worked with Daniel Longone while an undergraduate at Michigan. Texas A&M, the University of Utah, and Western Michigan University are also recipients of John’s and Janet’s generosity. John began his studies at Western Michigan University and the family has Kalamazoo roots.