Schenectady County

Union grad, a former DuPont executive, donates $1M to college

A former DuPont executive has donated $1 million college to his alma mater Union College.

A former DuPont executive has donated $1 million to his alma mater Union College.

Edward Kane, who graduated first in his class in 1940 with a degree in chemistry, served as president of the company.

“I wanted to show my gratitude for the way Union helped prepare me for an exciting and satisfying future,” Kane said in a press release from the college. “And I wanted to support college initiatives that will supply current and future students with learning opportunities that will prepare them to make lasting contributions to the advancement of chemistry.”

Kane’s gift will provide $600,000 to the biochemistry teaching laboratory and chemistry facilities in the new Wold Center for Science and Engineering. The remaining $400,000 will endow the Edward R. Kane ’40 Fund for Chemistry.

“My Union experience and education gave me the skills I needed to be an innovative thinker and doer and a lifelong learner who could thrive in the competitive, challenging environment of DuPont,” added Kane. “I hope, by supporting the new Wold Center and the chemistry program, I can help Union continue to do the same for young people today.”

After receive his undergraduate degree, the Schenectady native enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a doctorate in physical chemistry in 1943. He joined DuPont the same year as a research chemist in the nylon section of the textile fibers department.

He rose through the ranks and in 1967 became general manager of DuPont’s industrial and biochemicals department. In 1969, Kane was promoted to vice president and became a member of the executive committee. By January 1972, he was senior vice president and that September was elected to a six-year term as a Union College trustee.

Kane was named president and chief operating officer in 1973 and helped refocus the company on non-petroleum products, including electronics, agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals. He retired in 1980.

He currently lives in Greenville, Del., with Doris, his wife of 63 years.

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