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04-22-2004

Wallace H. Coulter - Inventor And Clarkson University Benefactor - Inducted Into National Inventors Hall Of Fame

[A photo of Wallace H. Coulter for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/coulter.jpg.]

Wallace H. Coulter, the man who pioneered advances in hematology and cell analysis that revolutionized laboratory medicine, joins a group of 20 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio, on May 1. Coulter was a renowned inventor and entrepreneur who served as a trustee of Clarkson University from 1983 - 1988. In 2002, the foundation he established made a gift of $30 million to Clarkson in support of ongoing excellence in engineering and science programs. Last year, the University honored Coulter by naming the engineering school the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering. Wallace H. Coulter

In the late 1940s, Coulter’s experiments in his basement laboratory resulted in the invention of a methodology for counting, measuring and evaluating microscopic particles suspended in fluid. He quickly followed this discovery with the development of the “Coulter Counter,” an instrument that counts blood cells. Today, the Coulter Counter is used to perform the most common medical diagnostic test, the complete blood count, or CBC.

The gift made by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation is the largest gift received by Clarkson in its 108-year history. “Technology Serving Humanity,” the theme and guiding principle behind the research and education occurring at the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering, honors Coulter’s lifelong commitment to making lives better through science and technology.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame was established in 1973. The organization’s charter as described on its Web site is to “honor the women and men responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress.” Candidates are nominated by their peers and the public, but it is an exclusive club. This year’s inductees will bring the total number of Hall of Fame members to only 170. Coulter will join such important inventors as Eli Whitney; Louis Pasteur; Alexander Graham Bell; Guglielmo Marconi; Henry Ford; Wilbur Wright; Stephanie Louise Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar; and John Sheehan, inventor of penicillin. 

The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation funds are targeted for five related areas at Clarkson: endowed chairs and fellowships in colloid and particle science and engineering; team project-based learning; initiatives in bioengineering and rehabilitation engineering; laboratory upgrades; and scholarship assistance for women and minorities who are underrepresented in engineering. 

The $30 million gift is allowing the University to both carry forward its hallmark leadership in materials science and engineering and pursue new technological paths that will lead to better assistive and adaptive technologies for individuals who are underrepresented in engineering.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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