The professorship, created with an endowment from Dunn-Edwards Corp. and contributions from 21 donors from the polymers and coatings industries, was created as part of the polymers and coatings program in the university's Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. The endowment fund was created with $1 million in gifts.
The professorship is named for the co-founder of Dunn-Edwards Corp. Arthur Edwards' son, Ken, and Dunn-Edwards Co. gave the primary gift of $500,000 to establish the chair.
Fernando was formerly a lead research chemist for Air Products' Corporate Science and Technology Center, and has 15 years of experience in the coatings field. He is considered an authority on waterborne coatings technology, and his doctoral work at North Dakota State University focused on the study of coatings rheology.
Fernando is currently chairman of the Technical Program Committee of the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology.
Cal Poly said Fernando will help lead the development of the university's new master's degree program in polymers and coatings science, which began this fall, and will be involved in expanding the existing undergraduate polymers and coatings program. He is also working to establish student internships in the coatings industry, in a variety of product and technology areas.