Bequest to Support Trinity Chemistry Department

​HARTFORD, Conn., November 20, 2009 – Trinity College has received a bequest valued at more than $500,000 from the late Lewis S. Keyes, a 1958 Trinity graduate, to establish two endowed funds that will support the Chemistry Department.

Income from the Lewis S. Keyes Fund will be used for chemistry laboratory and teaching equipment.  Income from the Lewis S. Keyes Scholarship Fund will provide tuition assistance to Trinity students, with a preference given to chemistry majors.

A chemistry major who received B.S. and Master of Science degrees from Trinity, Keyes did doctoral study at Princeton before joining, in 1964, the faculty of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he spent his career teaching chemistry.  Keyes served as assistant chair of the department until his retirement in 1999 and was much admired for his key role in modernizing the physical chemistry laboratory at Old Dominion.  Keyes passed away in January 2008.

 “There is no doubt,” says Trinity Chemistry Professor and Department Chair Tim Curran, “this gift will play a very significant and ongoing part in sustaining top-quality research equipment for Trinity students.”   It will be especially helpful, he says, for planning ahead to purchase major equipment such as a mass spectrometer, which measures the masses and relative concentrations of atoms and molecules. 

Retired Trinity Chemistry Professor Ed Bobko recalls that Keyes, as a student in his organic chemistry class in the 1950s, was serious about his studies and preparing for graduate school.  Bobko, who retired from Trinity in 1988 but maintains an active presence in the department most mornings, says, “I remember what a big thrill it was when we installed our first infrared spectrometer.  Of course, we wouldn’t let the students use the equipment back then – they had to come to one of us.  Today, the students run the spectrometers on a daily basis.”

Recently, Curran was asked by the National Science Foundation to help review grant proposals for mass spectrometers.  “Until then,” he says, “I didn’t realize our mass spectrometer holdings are better than some research universities.” The department has three different types of mass spectrometers, ranging in cost from $60,000 to $250,000.