HATTIESBURG, MS - The University of Southern Mississippi School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, Hattiesburg, MS, will honor and memorialize the late Sidney Lauren, a leader in the coatings industry, on September 23 with the dedication of the Sidney Lauren Memorial Learning Center. The center is made possible by a generous donation from the Coatings Industry Education Foundation (CIEF).

Through its history, the university’s polymer science program has had a mutually beneficial relationship with the coatings industry and its scientific leaders. Among those was Lauren, who also held a principal role in the CIEF. The CIEF has been a generous contributor of scholarships to polymer science students for more than a quarter of a century, including many who graduated from Southern Miss.

“On behalf of the student beneficiaries, the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials gratefully accepts this kind donation and acknowledges Sidney Lauren’s important legacy to the polymer and coatings industry,” said Dr. Robert Lochhead, Professor and Director of the school.

The event will begin with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Polymer Science Research Center on the Hattiesburg campus. The schedule for the day’s events includes a brief history of the long-standing relationship between the CIEF and Southern Miss, an overview of Sidney Lauren’s life and work by the Lauren children, presentation of the donation, acknowledgement of individual CIEF Sidney Lauren Memorial Scholarship recipients, a demonstration of the new Sidney Lauren Online Learning Center, and an announcement of the first annual “Sidney Lauren Memorial Lecture” to be held at the Annual Waterborne Symposium in February 2012.

Lauren, who died July 13, 2010, at his home in Nashua, NH, served as Executive Director of the Coatings Research Group (CRGI) from 1972-1985. He began his career in the industry with the C.J. Osborn Co. and then joined the Johns-Manville Corp. in 1954. He worked briefly with Reichhold Chemicals, but returned to Johns-Manville for another decade, serving as chief of its Finishing section. After retiring from CRGI, he worked with the California Products Corp.

An Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, NY, he devoted many years to the CIEF. He held longtime memberships with the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology and the American Chemical Society, among other industry-related associations. His honors from the industry include the NCPA Heckel Award and the FSCT PaVaC Award, and he was selected as a Mattiello Memorial Lecturer for FSCT.

The Sidney Lauren Memorial Learning Center will include: the Sidney Lauren coatings lab, located in the Southern Miss School of Polymers and High Performance Materials; an online learning center, www.laurenlearningcenter.com, where students can access lectures, resources, patents and more; a physical learning center with a state-of-the-art touch screen computer system located in the coatings lab for students to use; and a library/archive of coatings-related materials and information.

Following the ceremony, visitors will be given a tour of the school’s facilities, followed by a luncheon to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Lauren in the Poynter Room of the historic Ogletree Alumni House on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus.