Parsons Foundation Grant Gives Keck Science Center Labs a Makeover

The Joint Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges recently received a grant from The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation that enabled the creation of a dedicated NMR laboratory through the renovation of two labs in the Keck Science Center.

The grant, totaling $76,000, underwrote renovation that created laboratory space for the installation of a new 500 MHz NMR spectrometer. Chemistry professor Mary Hatcher-Skeers was previously awarded funds for the spectrometer through a National Science Foundation Grant as part of their Major Research Instrument initiative. The renovation of two laboratory spaces in Keck Science Center was essential to the installation of the new NMR.

The new spectrometer will have the highest magnetic field of any NMR at The Claremont Colleges, making it a valued resource for faculty members and students at all five colleges. Over 130 students per year will be utilizing the new NMR lab for course work or thesis research.

“Having the 500 MHz NMR spectrometer at The Claremont Colleges is a major achievement, which will assist science faculty and students across the entire consortium as they pursue their research interests,” says Hatcher-Skeers. “Training undergraduate researchers to use this instrument was an important goal of the NSF grant and already a number of students are using the instrument independently.”

The new NMR laboratory in Keck Science Center houses a variety of instruments used in chemistry research, including the new 500 MHz NMR spectrometer and the existing 300 MHz NMR spectrometer. In order for the new spectrometer to be installed, a myriad of renovations to the laboratory space were necessary, including the installation of a new air compressor. Additionally, existing chemical research instrumentation needed relocation to create space for the new equipment, and renovations were completed on this space as well.

According to Abigail Flores, CMC’s director of foundation and corporate relations, staff from the college’s Central Facilities Services Office provided the labor and necessary electrical work, as well as the piping, valves, filters, crane and supports to install the new air system to supply compressed air to both the new and existing NMR machines.

With these renovations at Keck Science Center, the availability of NMR capability to faculty and student researchers will increase markedly. In addition, collaboration among undergraduate research students will be enhanced by the development of a centralized cluster of departmental instrumentation.

“We are grateful to the Parsons Foundation for providing a grant for these necessary renovations,” says Flores. “The development of a dedicated NMR laboratory will be a valued resource for faculty members and students at all five colleges, enabling increased interaction among these groups and enhanced research experiences for our students. The Parsons Foundation has shown great forethought through this gift, as well as a true dedication to the advancement of science education.”

In recognition of the grant, plaques will be installed in both labs acknowledging The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation for their gift.