Guests and donors sign beam at site of Linus Pauling Science Center

2009-09-26T01:00:00Z Guests and donors sign beam at site of Linus Pauling Science CenterGazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
September 26, 2009 1:00 am  • 

The name of Linus Pauling, the famed scientist and Oregon State University alumnus, will be front and center on the Linus Pauling Science Center when the building is finished in June 2011.

But if you know where to look on the completed building (an exposed steel beam on the fourth floor), you'll be able to spy another Pauling sign: The signature of one of Pauling's children, Linus Pauling Jr.

Pauling Jr., a psychiatrist who lives in Honolulu, was one of the 300 or so guests on hand Friday as OSU formally celebrated the launch of construction on the $62.5 million project. Actual construction on the site began in August, and so Friday's festivities played out against a backdrop of construction work.

At the end of the celebration, Pauling and others in attendance got the chance to sign the beam. Other signatories included major donors to the project, including Alvin and Patricia Reser and Tamara Valley.

Near the corner of 30th Street and Campus Way, the building - the largest academic building ever constructed on the OSU campus - will be the home for the Linus Pauling Institute and the OSU Department of Chemistry.

Pauling graduated in 1922 from what was then Oregon Agricultural College. He went on to become the only man to win two unshared Nobel Prizes; for chemistry in 1954 and for peace in 1962. He later donated his papers to OSU.

OSU President Ed Ray, in his remarks Friday, said that Pauling likely was the university's most distinguished alumnus: "He would probably qualify as any university's most distinguished alumnus."

Pauling's son said that his father would have been "absolutely delighted" with the building to be named in his honor. Friday, Pauling's son expressed his delight on his father's behalf.

"It was a dream of mine for a long time that there would be a building" to house the institute, he said.

Balz Frei, the director of the institute, said Pauling Jr. was instrumental in the institute's move to OSU in 1996. At about that time, OSU administrators signed a memo of understanding that the university would launch a fundraising campaign to construct a building for the institute.

In the years since then, the mission of the institute has only become more important, especially in research on the ways that specific nutrients and antioxidants keep people healthy.

"I think that's the future of medicine, preventive health," Frei said.

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