Alumnus Gary Lapidus has gifted $500,000 to establish an endowed fund supporting faculty excellence in the department of chemical engineering. The Gary R. Lapidus Faculty Fund will support one faculty member for a renewable five-year term, providing resources for summer stipends, other research and teaching expenses, and professional travel.
This gift will ensure that faculty can conduct cutting-edge research and involve graduate and undergraduate students in their work while collaborating with academic and industry peers to address the complex engineering challenges of the 21st century.
“My chemical engineering education at UMass was foundational for what I was able to achieve afterwards,” Lapidus says. “The capabilities I developed during my time with the chemical engineering department—critical-thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and work ethic—were critical to what I’ve been able to accomplish in my professional life. Now, I’m in a position where I can give something back; I want to enable students to do research and have the same opportunities that I had, which were so pivotal in my life.”
Lapidus, a former senior equity research analyst at Goldman Sachs and Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., and former principal with Booz, Allen, and Hamilton, came to UMass unsure of what he wanted to study. In his third year, he took a chemical engineering class and did well. He credits the program with transforming him from a student with average grades into someone who was fully engaged, laying the groundwork for a successful career. He is passionate about giving the same opportunity to current students at UMass and strengthening the department of chemical engineering’s ability to train the next generation of leaders.
“A world-class faculty is at our core,” says Sanjay Raman, dean of the UMass College of Engineering. “Through Gary’s significant gift, we will support a rising star faculty member who can create a deep and lasting impact on our chemical engineering students. At UMass Amherst, faculty fellowship funding, like that generously provided by Gary, enables us to attract and retain individuals who are at the cutting edge of their fields. It ensures that the next generation of students continues to benefit from the technical expertise and mentorship of our most outstanding teachers and researchers.”
Lapidus, who currently lives in London and invests from his family office, has previously supported the UMass College of Engineering with funding for student scholarships and conference attendance. In addition to his bachelor’s degree, he holds a master’s in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and an MBA from Harvard Business School.