President Beck Taylor announced a $2.05 million endowment for a professorship in chemistry gifted by the late retired Whitworth professor and library archivist, Hugh W. Johnston, last Thursday.
In addition to the endowed professorship, the gift will allow Whitworth to establish a fund for research in chemistry. The fund helps fulfill the Whitworth 2021 strategic plan that was developed five years ago.
“Because of Hugh Johnston’s generosity to Whitworth in addition to the endowed professorship, the university will place an additional sum of $550,000 into this newly endowed fund to support interdisciplinary research, moving us more than halfway toward our $1 million goal in that area,” Taylor said. The university plans to have 10 endowed faculty positions at the uni- versity by 2021, Taylor said. The Hugh W. Johnston endowed professorship in chemistry is the seventh endowed professorship.
"This gift will further strengthen Whitworth’s already strong chemistry program and will stimulate research in this important field,” said Caroline Simon, Whitworth provost and executive vice president.
The Hugh W. Johnston endowed research fund will enable faculty and student research collaborations across many disciplines in the university and connect multiple disciplines, Simon said.
“We in the chemistry department are very excited to hear about this announcement, “ said chemistry de- partment chair Dr. Deanna Ojennus. “We rmly believe that faculty-directed research in an essential part of a Whitworth chemistry major’s education.”
The chemistry department believes the fund will help foster faculty and student research, Ojennus said.
“We look forward to how this endowed professorship will raise Whitworth’s academic profile in the sciences,” Ojennus said.
“Knowing Hugh and his love for the sciences, especially for chemistry, it’s appropriate that the majority of his gift will enable strong faculty support in that area through the new endowed professorship,” Taylor said. “And there’s no question that Hugh loved his students, so the generous fund to support student-faculty collaborative and interdisciplinary scholarship would make him smile. Thank God for Hugh Johnston.”
Hugh Johnston was an archaeologist, Egyptologist and stamp collector. He started teaching at Whitworth in 1957, teaching chemistry for 16 years. His last 12 years on the Whitworth staff were as director of development services. After his retirement, he served in the archive department of Whitworth as the library’s head archivist.
Contact Sarah Haman at