Straumanis Hall, which houses the Materials Research Center on the campus of Missouri University of Science and Technology, is scheduled to be renovated this summer. In conjunction with the renovation, the building will be renamed Straumanis-James Hall in honor of Dr. William (Bill) James, professor emeritus of chemistry at Missouri S&T.
By the end of the summer, James will have completed 57 years of service in teaching and research to the university. Dr. Martin Straumanis, a former professor of metallurgical engineering, was one of James’ friends and colleagues. Stramaunis died in 1973.
A dedication ceremony will take place on the site of the soon-to-be renovated building at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 14. James will address graduating students at a commencement ceremony later that night and receive an honorary doctorate.
In 1964, James co-founded the university’s Graduate Center for Materials Research, where he is still a senior investigator. He served as director of the center from 1964-75 and again from 1980-82.
James played a key role in the establishment of Ph.D. programs in chemical engineering and chemistry and was the major advisor to the university’s first recipient of a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. He is a past recipient of a Fulbright research professorship and has studied under a Nobel laureate in France. He was one of the first faculty members at S&T to start a company based on his research, MEAD Chemical Co., and helped establish Brewer Science Corp. in Rolla.
James has received the Chancellor’s Medal from S&T and is a member of the university’s Academy of Chemical Engineers and Academy of Chemists and Biochemists.
Straumanis and James are thought to have been the first researchers on campus to receive funding from the National Science Foundation, which, incidentally, has selected a $1.8 million proposal for funding to help renovate the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical systems in Straumanis-James Hall.
“This will upgrade the building inside and out,” says Dr. Matt O’Keefe, professor of materials science and engineering at S&T and current director of the center. “When completed it will provide the infrastructure to continue the world class research done by the students, staff, and faculty associated with the center.”