Goodyear Polymer Center
On August 15, 1988, The University of Akron held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of the $17 million Polymer Science Building, noting that the research and teaching occurring in the Polymer Science Building would help strengthen the polymer industry and elevate the University of Akron. After three years, construction was complete and the ribbon cutting ceremony took place on April 1, 1991 as part of a three-day dedication. UA President William V. Muse cut the polymer-synthetic ribbon as David Headley, chairman of the Board of Trustees and Frank Kelley, dean of the college, looked on.
The ribbon cutting and tours followed an hour-long academic convocation held in E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. During the convocation, U.S. Rep. Thomas C. Sawyer told the crowd “When you go outside today, I hope you all take a look at that building. Literally and figuratively, it reflects this entire community, its history, its people. In its glass you can see grain mills and rubber mills. The University has always been at the economic core of the community and with the new building, we’ve raised the stake of what it takes to be competitive in an intensely competitive world.”
The Polymer Science Building was officially renamed The Goodyear Polymer Center in January 1998 in recognition of a generous gift from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The gift was presented at a Board of Trustees meeting and also supported naming the auditorium within the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, Goodyear Centennial Hall, and establishment of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Chair in Intellectual Property Law.
The Goodyear Polymer Center is a 146,000-square-foot building housing the Polymer Science program and offering spacious learning facilities specific to students’ needs. It features 12-story and 9-story towers connected by glass-enclosed walkways that serve as areas for informal meetings and discussions. The building houses classrooms, some 60 research and teaching labs, 20 faculty offices, and 25 offices with 200 modules arranged in clusters for students, visiting researchers, and postdoctoral students. The Center also contains the 213-seat Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Auditorium, the Paul J. Flory Reading Room, and The International Rubber Science Hall of Fame portrait gallery.
Founded in 1898, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world. Goodyear is one of Summit County’s largest employers and a valued UA partner. Goodyear’s generous support in 1998 helped build a best-in-class program as UA was named as the top university in the world for polymer science and plastics engineering, according to global ranking site EduRank, in 2022.
For more than 60 years, Goodyear’s influence has touched nearly every aspect of UA. In 2021, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company established the Driving Opportunity Scholars Program which supports undergraduate students at UA, the program increases job readiness in our region and strengthens our local economy.
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company currently employs hundreds of UA alumni.
Benefits to campus
The University of Akron campus features one of the most iconic buildings in Northeast Ohio. In a world that is continuously transforming through inventions and technology, the Goodyear Polymer Center offers a space to collaborate for informal meetings and discussions. In addition, the Goodyear Polymer Center provides students access to world class lab space for cutting edge research in polymer chemistry, physics, and engineering.
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