Lilly establishes fellowship in honor of Princeton researcher

Princeton NJ -- The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has endowed a graduate student fellowship in chemistry in honor of emeritus professor Edward C. Taylor.

The $500,000 gift, which was augmented with a $250,000 matching contribution from a fund established by alumnus Gordon Wu, establishes a permanent fund whose income will pay for the education of an exceptional graduate student with interests in organic chemistry.

"It's a wonderful recognition of Ted's contributions to the University and the research community and of his long interaction with Eli Lilly," said chemistry department chair George McLendon.

McLendon said the fellowship will serve as a valuable recruiting tool for top students and will help the chemistry department fulfill the University's recent commitment to fund the first year of study for all graduate students in science. After the first year, students often obtain other fellowships.

The first recipient of the Lilly fellowship is Carmen Drahl, who did her undergraduate work at Drew University.

The fellowship also helps build on the department's relationship with Lilly, which is developing Alimta, a potentially major cancer drug that Taylor discovered. Such relationships are crucial if the University is to ensure that its intellectual resources provide the maximum benefit to society, said McLendon.

"You can't do that unless you can forge a partnership with a commercial organization that can bring an idea forward and make it a commercial reality," he said. "Otherwise it just stays an academic curiosity."

McLendon also noted that many chemistry students eventually work for companies such as Lilly, so the department's commercial ties help students build their careers. Fo-cusing the fellowship on first-year students allows the maximum number of students to interact with the company, he said.

In addition, faculty members who have positive relations with companies may be able to offer students more engaging projects. "The synergy feeds back into the classroom," McLendon said. "When someone is developing something with real-world applications, it's just something that students find fun."

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