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Science Education: Priority in Schollenberger Family Legacy

By Denise Cassells
News | October 11, 2009

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. - Research turned up insight into a family background steeped in science on candidate for U.S. Senate Charles D. Schollenberger a Democrat from Kansas.

Shawn Cleveland first reported on this story in this year's spring publication from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences.

Schollenberger when asked was kind enough to allow Kansas Free Press to share this unique story.

Grandson and son, Charles D. Schollenberger, continue a commitment to honor the work of agronomist Charles J. Schollenberger and chemist Charles S. Schollenberger with a gift to create the Charles Schollenberger Arboretum Visitors Center Biological Lab Endowment.

Schollenberger has arranged for The Ohio State University through a trust to contribute funds to The Ohio State University Foundation.

An annual distribution from this endowment will provide funds for programming and the purchase of biological lab equipment or supplies in the Biological Lab at the Arboretum Visitors Center at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, Ohio.

Funds will also contribute to the Charles J. Schollenberger Family Day, which remains a tradition held annually or biannually at the Secrest Arboretum.

Secrest Arboretum (120 acres) is located on the campus of the OARDC. This artistic landscape draws an estimated 10,000 visitors annually.

"In August 2003 our family dedicated two wooden park benches in their memory in the Dawn Redwood Grove of the Secrest Arboretum, a favorite place for family gatherings," Schollenberger said.

Schollenberger's grandfather, Charles J., joined the staff of the Ohio Agricultural Experimental Station in 1910 and spent 47 years as an agronomist before retiring in 1958. Overcoming deafness as a child, Charles J. went on to earn his bachelor's degree in chemistry from The Ohio State University.

His life's work as a research pioneer led him to determine required quantities of common soil additives, such as limestone and manure, to develop an enhanced method for agricultural production.

"We also commissioned a portrait of my grandfather which now hangs in the library of the Ohio State Agricultural Research & Development Center in Wooster, Ohio," Scollenberger said.

From 1949 to 1957, Charles J. was associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service where he promoted and helped develop efforts to save topsoil from erosion.

Schollenberger's father, Charles S., began a highly distinguished career in chemistry as a child when his father let him perform simple experiments in his laboratory at the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station.

Charles S. went on to major in chemistry at the College of Wooster and earned a doctorate at Cornell University.

Hired fresh out of graduate school by noted polyvinyl chloride inventor Dr. Waldo Semon of the B.F. Goodrich Company, Charles S. helped open a Goodrich research center in Brecksville, Ohio in 1948.

More than ten years of diligent research paid off in 1959 when Charles S. proudly added his own contribution to Goodrich's long list of firsts in rubber, with the development of "Estane®," the world's first thermoplastic polyurethane.


While fund raising is in the beginning stages and groundbreaking has not yet begun on the Charles Schollenberger Arboretum Visitors Center Biological Lab, Ken D. Cochran, program director of the Secrest Arboretum, OARDC is pleased so many people have taken an active interest in the development of the center.

"Charles was the largest single contributor to the project. We are very grateful for his contribution. He was the first contributor, which acted as a catalyst for the project in fund raising," Cochran said.

With about a quarter of the expected costs raised, donations to date are $1.7 million all contributed through private donors.

"My late grandfather and late father were wonderful people and I am proud of their accomplishments. This trust was established to honor them and their contributions to science," Schollenberger said.

1 Comment

You're really on a roll! Great work, Denise!


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