The University of New Mexico department of chemistry recently held a kick-off event in the newly remodeled Clark Hall as part of a fundraising campaign centered around the largest Periodic Table of Elements in the state of New Mexico.
In 1997, the first Elements of Success wall was built within Clark Hall. This wall represented some of the chemistry and chemical biology department’s most generous donors. After 25 years, the first version of Elements of Success was revamped along with the recent renovation of Clark Hall.
“At the event, we wanted to show gratitude and acknowledgment for the exceptionally generous support this program has received since its inception in 1998,” said Jeremy Edwards, department chair. “Thank you, sincerely, to all our previous sponsors of the original Elements of Success campaign. We hope that you consider participating in our new campaign.”
With the Elements of Success campaign, donors can sponsor an element and have their name added to the periodic table display, which is the largest displayed periodic table in the State of New Mexico measuring 12x12 and made of full-color acrylic.
The campaign is designed specifically for chemistry undergraduate and graduate students by providing support and collaborative funding to enhance student experiences and academic success such as professional association membership, conference travel, guest speakers for seminars and lectures, and various other student-benefitting resources. Individual elements can be purchased on several levels including one year ($250), five years ($1,000), or lifetime ($10,000).
One of the attendees, G. Dana Brabson, was a departmental professor from 1984-88 and from 1993-2006. Brabson, who taught, wrote manuals and ran laboratories, and conducted chemistry demonstrations with both students and community members, became the first-lifetime donor as part of the new campaign. Brabson feels supporting students and engaging with the community is important.
“I think interaction with students and the people outside in the community is very important,” said Brabson. “I would invite people to come out of the audience and participate in the experiments—the safe ones of course. I just think that hands-on participation using science as a basis for decision-making and for solving problems is very important. The whole idea of getting people to do hands-on experiments is terribly, terribly important because they're able to decide how they can make decisions based on scientific observations. I had the great opportunity to do that while I was here.”
One of Brabson’s favorite places to do demonstrations was at the State Fair. “I did chemistry demonstrations where we would launch rockets from the roadways at the State Fair and down in the chemistry hall. I was able to go back and look at my records because I had a file for pretty much all the demonstrations that I've done, and I figured more than 10,000 people over time saw our demonstrations. We had so much fun. I think we influenced a lot of people doing those demonstrations.”
For those interested in sponsoring an element, visit the Elements of Success located on the UNM Foundation website. Checks can also be made out to the Elements of Success Foundation or individuals may contact the UNM Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the department, visit UNM chemistry.