June 8, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 19

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    Kerstens give $2 million for professorship, scholarships

    A landmark campus building bears their name, and now they have made a landmark gift that will support the work that takes place in that building.

    Samuel and Elaine Kersten, who 10 years ago made the gift that named the Kersten Physics Teaching Center, have pledged $2 million to establish a professorship and two scholarships in the physical sciences.

    Their gift endows the Elaine M. and Samuel D. Kersten Jr. Professorship in the Physical Sciences. In addition, every year two undergraduates with a concentration in physical sciences will be designated the Elaine M. and Samuel D. Kersten Jr. Scholars.

    "It seemed like the proper time to reflect on what has been truly important to my life, and one of those things is the University of Chicago," said Samuel Kersten, who received his A.B. from the University in 1935. "Maybe this gift in a small way can begin to repay all that my Chicago education meant to me. It's especially gratifying to me to be able to help provide a Chicago education to others, to support aspiring young people in the physical sciences."

    "The Kerstens have enormous affection for the University," said President Sonnenschein. "They played a leadership role in creating our Science Quadrangle, and they have now turned from bricks and mortar to helping us support the superb faculty and students who represent the future of science. I am most grateful for this latest example of Samuel and Elaine's remarkable generosity."

    Samuel Kersten is president of the Water Saver Faucet Company Inc., which he founded with his father in 1951. It has since become one of the biggest suppliers of laboratory fixtures in the United States, and Kersten holds several patents on laboratory devices.

    In addition to their gifts in support of the physical sciences, the Kerstens have also made generous gifts to many other areas of the University. They endowed the Elaine and Samuel D. Kersten Jr. Law Library Fund in 1979 and the Samuel D. Kersten Law Faculty Fund in 1987. In 1994, they endowed two fellowships in the Biological Sciences Division. They are members of the President's Council and the Endowment Association.

    The Kerstens' gift brings the total of the Campaign for the Next Century to $493 million. Launched during the University's centennial celebration in 1991, the campaign is scheduled to run through June 30, 1996. Projections indicate that the campaign will have met the original goal of $500 million by the end of June, a full year ahead of schedule. In February, the Trustees increased the Campaign for the Next Century goal to $650 million, the largest campaign goal in the University's history.