SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA — California Polytechnic State University's new Kenneth N. Edwards Western Coatings Technology Center (WCTC) opened for classes in September and was officially dedicated this month. It was named after the late Kenneth N. Edwards, former CEO of Dunn-Edwards Paints, in recognition of his efforts in helping to fund the project. Edwards passed away in February of this year.

Funded by $2.5 million in private donations from the polymers and coatings industry, the WCTC includes the Dunn-Edwards Coatings Formulation Facilities, the Behr Process Polymer Synthesis Laboratory, an instrumental analysis laboratory and the Kenneth N. Edwards Conference Room.

The modern laboratories in the WCTC will greatly expand efforts in the education of future polymers and coatings professionals, and in industry-sponsored research. Cal Poly offers the only polymers and coatings program in the West. The WCTC will provide a place for students to learn and do important, real-world research with their faculty and industry mentors.

Ken Edwards was deeply involved with Cal Poly’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and its coatings and polymers program for more than 25 years. He provided the lead gift to establish the Arthur C. Edwards Endowed Chair for Coatings Technology and Ecology, named in honor of his father who was a co-founder of the Dunn-Edwards Corp. The department currently offers an undergraduate degree program with a concentration in coatings science and polymers, as well as an industry-focused master’s degree in the same area.