Dean and Laura Marvin Make $1.5 Million Commitment to Endow a Chemistry Professorship

Dean and Laura Marvin Make $1.5 Million Commitment to Endow a Chemistry Professorship

Dean Marvin Photo

Dean Marvin ’73 and his wife Laura Marvin

Dean Marvin ’73 and his wife, Laura, have committed $1.5 million to endow a chemistry professorship at the University of Rochester’s School of Arts & Sciences. The Dean and Laura Marvin Endowed Professorship in Physical Chemistry is the first professorship at the University to support physical chemistry, a field that explores fundamental aspects of how matter behaves on the atomic to molecular levels.

“We are so grateful to the Marvins for establishing this first-ever gift for the chemistry department,” says Todd Krauss, Department of Chemistry chair. “Their generosity will help us attract and retain the best talent in the field of physical chemistry—faculty who serve as inspiring examples of research innovation, mentorship, and leadership.”

“When I was an undergraduate here, the faculty encouraged me and laid the foundation for graduate school, which led to my research career,” says Dean. “Supporting faculty is important to Laura and me—it’s their work that feeds the kinds of intellectual curiosity that leads to great scientific discovery and innovation.”

“Making this gift provided us an opportunity to do something to help take care of the next generation of scientists,” says Laura. “Giving to education is a way to create progress, and that’s what we wanted to do.”

This is the second gift the Marvins have made to the University. In 2015, they established the Dean and Laura Marvin Endowed Scholarship Fund, which provides need-based financial support to current chemistry students.

Dean received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Rochester in 1973, after which he earned a PhD from UCLA. He then took a postdoctoral position at the IBM Research Center in San Jose, directed by Professor Paul Flory of Stanford University.

In 1983, Dean joined the Aerospace Corporation, which operates the only federally-funded, nonprofit research and development center dedicated to the space industry. His career started as a member of its technical staff and culminated as a principal director with responsibility for managing the research portfolio for the entire company. Laura worked at Aerospace, too. She also started her career as a member of the technical staff and then worked as a systems engineer on a variety of development and spacecraft programs.

The Marvins both retired in 2012, although Dean still consults for the company on solar cell research programs. He also mentors employees at the company. In their free time, the Marvins race bicycles and have won multiple California and Arizona state titles, mostly on their tandem bike. They also enjoy judging at state, national, and international science and engineering fairs for grades 4-12.

Kristine Thompson, January 2020