March 9-22, 2001
(no issue March 16 due to Spring Break)
Matthews family gives $500,000
General Faculty Council holding elections online
Library honors Madison's contributions to U.Va.
WFPA seeking nominations

Students vote down three of four proposed Honor System reforms

Nondiscrimination policy
Undergraduate engineers launch real-world NASA project
In Memoriam
U.Va. tapped to study acute lung injury
Hot Links -- Jackson Davis Collection
Communications projects recognized
Notable -- awards and achievements of faculty and staff
Not just an 'everyday' experience -- photo
Special trio closes concert series
After Hours -- Zephyrus
Back Issues

Matthews family gives $500,000

Staff Report

The family of the late John W. Matthews, a former postdoctoral researcher at the University of Virginia and a groundbreaking materials researcher, has pledged $500,000 in his memory to the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Matthews, whose son is the rock music composer and performer Dave Matthews, was an IBM Corporation research scientist who had a long-term research affiliation with the Engineering School.

The gift will support the construction of a 1,000-square-foot laboratory in the planned materials science building, a research and teaching facility to be constructed in 2002. The building also will house conference rooms and faculty offices, and will connect the Materials Science and Chemical Engineering buildings.

Matthews' relationship with the University began in 1964 when he came to U.Va. as a postdoctoral researcher working with Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf, University Professor of Applied Science. She was married to the late Heinz Wilsdorf, first chair of the Engineering School's department of materials science. Matthews had already distinguished himself by conducting promising research in epitaxy, an area that underlies much of modern computer technology. Fifteen years earlier, as a freshman at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, Matthews was the top student in the first class taught by Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf.

Matthews later guided William A. Jesser, now chair of the U.Va. Department of Materials Science, in his Ph.D. research on epitaxy, thereby establishing this important research area at the University. Matthews' many contributions are still fundamental to computer chip manufacture.

"John was a very creative scientist with deep insight into how nature works," Jesser said. "He came up with a number of groundbreaking ideas that are still fresh and in use today. He was a very caring person, and a good friend. I watched his family grow in the 13 years I knew him, and our families became friends."

Construction of the new materials science building was assured by a recent $15 million gift from materials science alumnus Gregory Olsen, who earned his Ph.D. under Jesser as his first graduate student in epitaxy. The Engineering School will recommend to the University's Board of Visitors that the building be named Wilsdorf Hall.

Until his death in 1977, Matthews maintained close professional contacts with the Wilsdorfs and especially Jesser.

Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf recalls Matthews and Olsen with admiration. "We did some extraordinary work together in those days, both in labs here at the University and in South Africa," she says. "I am moved that the Matthews family would choose to honor John in this manner."

A recently awarded multimillion-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation generated plans for a nanoscience research building and is the latest result of the research expertise established here by Matthews.


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