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UWF announces $150,000 gift to establish the Elizabeth S. Calhoun Endowment for Industrial Careers

A $150,000 gift to the University of West Florida established the Elizabeth S. Calhoun Endowment for Industrial Careers and named the Elizabeth S. Calhoun Analytical Lab, which will benefit undergraduate chemistry majors in UWF’s Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. The endowment will focus on supporting women and Pell-eligible students.

“We are so grateful for Calhoun’s generosity and for her support of our Chemistry program,” said Dr. Mohamed Khabou, dean of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. “Her gift will enhance the hands-on education our Chemistry students receive and will enable them to pursue a career as impressive as Dr. Calhoun’s.”

Recognized as the first female graduate from the chemistry department at UWF, Calhoun had a successful more than 35-year career in the chemistry industry. Calhoun worked for Celanese, a global chemical and fibers company, in many different capacities including technical development, technical sales and marketing, quality management and environmental, health and safety. Prior to retirement, the last position she held was international director of environmental health and safety for Celanese Acetate where she was responsible for providing the business with effective and efficient environmental health, safety, product stewardship and toxicology programs and services worldwide, which promote regulatory compliance and fosters responsible risk management. 

“I believe that I got an exceptional education at UWF that propelled me into the workplace with the knowledge and the poise to be a success,” Calhoun said. “It was almost unseen in the late 60’s and early 70’s for a woman to graduate in chemistry and to go into the workplace in a position other than a secretary or a teacher. It took me a couple of positions at other companies to prove my worth, but I eventually became the first professional (exempt) woman to be hired by Celanese out of industry. I don’t think this would have been possible without my time at UWF so it is important to me that I give back to the University every year so that they can continue to help others gain the knowledge and building blocks necessary to be successful in today’s workforce.”

For more information about the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering, visit