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10-11-2003

Clarkson Dedicates Wallace H. Coulter School Of Engineering

[Photos of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering dedication ceremony are available for newspaper use at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/dedication1.jpg, http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/dedication2.jpg, and http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/dedication3.jpg.]

Clarkson University celebrated the dedication of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering Friday, October 10, at a ceremony and reception held on the Clarkson campus.dedication1

“Technology Serving Humanity,” the guiding principle behind the research and education conducted at the school, was a theme reflected throughout the dedication ceremony that paid homage to the leadership, generosity and professional accomplishments of the late scientist and humanitarian Wallace H. Coulter.

Last year the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation announced a $30-million gift to Clarkson in recognition and in support of its high quality engineering and science programs. The School of Engineering was renamed in honor of the late Wallace H. Coulter's commitment to Clarkson as a trustee, and the generous gift from the foundation established in his memory.

“This day represents the culmination of a partnership between Wallace Coulter and Clarkson that has spanned decades,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins at the dedication. “It is a time to celebrate, reflect and be proud of Clarkson’s close association with an individual of Wallace’s caliber. His influence has served as an inspiration for us at Clarkson, as we challenge ourselves each day to be our best, to take calculated risks, and to discover exciting new ways for technology to serve humanity.”

Collins also addressed how the gift from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation will carry forward Clarkson’s hallmark leadership in materials science and engineering, and will enable the University to pursue new technological paths that will lead to better assistive and adaptive technologies for individuals with disabilities. He thanked Wallace H. Coulter Foundation representatives present, especially Sue Van, Foundation president and Coulter’s close friend and business associate.

In a moving speech, Van remembered Wallace Coulter as a humble, generous man with an extraordinary talent, who applied his creative energy and problem-solving intelligence to make human lives better through science and technology.

“He is known around the world for his accomplishments,” said Wallace H. Coulter Foundation President Sue Van. “His technology is as robust today as when he invented it. Not only did he revolutionize hematology, but he spawned an industry around it. He revolutionized clinical medicine. He revolutionized laboratory medicine. There is no one here today, who has not benefited from Wallace’s technology.”

Nearly 400 people attended the dedication ceremony, including members of Clarkson’s Board of Trustees, alumni, students, faculty, staff, representatives of the Coulter Foundation, members of the Engineering Advisory Council and the North Country community.

A specially commissioned portrait of Wallace Coulter painted by artist Michael Shane Neal, which will hang permanently in the atrium, was unveiled.

Attendees also had a chance to view a new permanent exhibit, “The Wallace H. Coulter Tribute,” which honors Coulter, his professional and scientific accomplishments and his humanitarian mission through photographs, illustrations, a timeline and text. Kevan Moss Design of Paul Smiths, N.Y., collaborated with the University and Foundation in its development.

Funds from the Foundation are targeted for five related areas: endowed chairs and fellowships in colloid and particle science and engineering; team project-based learning; initiatives in bioengineering and rehabilitation engineering; laboratory upgrades; and scholarship assistance for women and minorities who are underrepresented in engineering.

Wallace H. Coulter (1913-1998) is noted as one of the most accomplished inventors of the twentieth century, recognized for advances in hematology and cell analysis that revolutionized laboratory medicine.

In the late 1940s, Coulter established a basement laboratory. The experimentation that took place there resulted in the invention of the Coulter Principle in 1948, for which he received a patent in 1953.

The Coulter Principle was a dramatic breakthrough that provided a methodology for counting, measuring, and evaluating microscopic particles suspended in fluid. This was closely followed by the development of the Coulter Counter instrument for the purpose of counting blood cells, constructed on the basis of the Coulter Principle. After Wallace received a patent for the Coulter Principle in 1953, he and his brother Joe began commercial production of Coulter Counters.

With his brother Joe, Wallace Coulter founded Coulter Corporation in 1958, and developed the company into the industry leader in blood analyzing equipment. By the 1990s, with 5,500 employees on six continents, the company had developed entire families of instruments, reagents and controls, not just in hematology, but also in cytometry, industrial fine particle counting, and other lab instrumentation. In 1997, the Coulter Corporation was acquired by Beckman Instruments and is now known as Beckman Coulter, Inc.

In 1979 he received an honorary doctorate from Clarkson, and served as a trustee of the University from 1983-1988. Through the years, Coulter maintained close connections with Clarkson, supporting research projects, collaborating with scientists, and establishing an endowed scholarship.

Wallace Coulter received numerous awards during his lifetime, including the prestigious John Scott Award for Scientific Achievement, given for discoveries that benefit humankind; other recipients include Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, Gugliemo Marconi and Marie Curie. Coulter passed away in August 1998. The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation was established to continue Wallace's lifelong commitment to solving healthcare problems through the use of technology.

Photo caption (dedication1.jpg): Clarkson University President Tony Collins, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation President Sue Van and Portrait Artist Michael Shane Neal unveil Neal’s portrait of Wallace H. Coulter.

Photo caption (dedication2.jpg): Clarkson University President Tony Collins speaks at the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering dedication.

Photo caption (dedication3.jpg): Wallace H. Coulter Foundation President Sue Van speaks at the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering dedication.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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