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Joseph Kenyon Chemistry Laboratory Opens

The new £2 million Joseph Kenyon Laboratory officially opened at the University of Surrey on October 9.

The event included naming the laboratory after Professor Joseph Kenyon, a notable chemist, who was a pioneer in the field of organic chemistry and was the Foundation Head of the Chemistry department at Battersea in 1922. Professor Kenyon’s grandson and great-grandson, Robert and Dominic Muston, were guests of honour.

Sir David Varney performed the ribbon cutting ceremony in the presence of Head of Chemistry, Professor Dulcie Mulholland, Head of Faculty, Professor Jonathan Seville, Dr Ian Cunningham and other guests.

Professor Mulholland welcomed guests to the University, the Faculty and the Department of Chemistry.  She spoke about the transformation of a dreary 1960s laboratory into a wonderful new learning environment equipped with all the latest facilities and a modern computer suite.

She said, “The Joseph Kenyon Laboratory renovations represent a quantum leap in laboratory provision in the University and provide facilities in line with its top 10 status in the Guardian League table. Students and researchers will now have access to world-class laboratories, equipment and computer facilities. This will enable us to continue producing leading research and highly employable Chemistry graduates.”

She added: "This is a great time for Chemistry at Surrey– we are ninth in the country in the Guardian University Guide and have seen a 120% increase in student applications.”

Dr Cunningham gave a brief account of Professor Kenyon’s chemistry background tracing his education from Blackburn College through his career highlights including his time as Head of Chemistry at the University of Surrey’s predecessor institution, Battersea Polytechnic (later known as Battersea College of Technology).

Prior to cutting the ribbon, Sir David Varney commented on Professor Kenyon’s reputation being ‘alive and well’ when he joined Battersea in 1964, completing his Chemistry BSc in 1968.

Professor Neil Ward gave thanks to Professor Mulholland for all her hard work related to the opening of the new laboratory. The focus of the research in the JK laboratory will be on organic, inorganic and analytical chemistry.

Two Battersea Chemistry alumni, Dr Pat Gould and David Ellis, who graduated 60 years ago, attended the opening of the laboratory to mark their diamond anniversary.

They were joined for lunch (prior to the opening ceremony) by Sir David Varney, Tony Butcher and Keith Goddard, who all studied Chemistry in the 1960s, and recently compiled their recollections of the subject at Battersea, with Joe Bullock, Margaret Cross, John Hill and Roger Irving, who were unable to attend.

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