Nano Science building dedicated to former UT president

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Larry Faulkner, former university president, listens as current President Bill Powers applauds him at the dedication ceremony for the Larry R. Faulkner Nanoscience and Technology Building on Thursday evening.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Former UT President Larry Faulkner said he hopes to spend the rest of his life as a member of UT faculty at the dedication ceremony Thursday for the Larry R. Faulkner Nanoscience and Technology Building, which was named in his honor in August 2010.

Faulkner served as University president from 1998 until 2005. He was instrumental in advocating for the construction of the building, which was completed in 2006, natural sciences interim Dean David Laude said.

“The University of Texas has had a remarkable, practically mystical presence in my life,” Faulkner said. “Three times I have come to it from elsewhere, and three times I have gone out into the larger world. I’m about to return for a fourth time, and I expect it to be for the rest of my life.”

Faulkner will return next semester to work in the College of Natural Sciences, and he will bring profound wisdom to the University, President William Powers Jr. said.

“Larry, your fingerprints are all over this university,” Powers said, addressing Faulkner during the ceremony. “With this building, your legacy won’t only be woven into the cultural and programmatic fabric of this university, but also in the physical and concrete fabric of this University.”

Biochemistry professor Allen Bard said he was not surprised Faulkner played an important role in the construction of the building because he remained rooted in science although he rose through the administrative ranks at the University of Illinois before becoming UT president.

“He was good at multitasking, and he still liked science even when he was president of the University,” Bard said.

Faulkner wrote a book with Bard, “Electrochemical Methods: Fundamentals and Applications, Second Edition,” during Faulkner’s tenure as UT president, Bard said.

“He was a very good student,” Bard said. “He set the record for the shortest time to get a Ph.D with me.”

The Nanoscience and Technology Building was completed in 2006, after late professor Paul Barbara paved the way for the formation of a nanoscience department in 2000. The facility houses more than $20 million in equipment and is used by more than 300 faculty and staff each year, Powers said.

“This amazing facility shows the power of smallness,” he said. “It holds enormous potential for science and for humanity as we begin to unlock the secrets of how to manipulate and manufacture and do things in that enormously small state.”

Faulkner said the fact that science takes place in the building that bears his name is a special honor close to his heart.

“It’s probably mostly accidental the chancellor, the president and the Regents picked this particular building to bear my name, but it is a source of great pride that this facility is so close to my scientific interests.”

Printed on Friday, October 28, 2011 as: Nanoscience building honors Faulkner