New Engineering Endowment Will Bring Industry Professionals to Classroom

The new Babcock and Condray Families Innovative Teaching Endowment in Chemical Engineering was celebrated by the College of Engineering on April 26.
Photo by Nick DeMoss

The new Babcock and Condray Families Innovative Teaching Endowment in Chemical Engineering was celebrated by the College of Engineering on April 26.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas alumni Ansel and Virginia Condray of Dallas are creating an endowment to honor the unique bond between their family and the family of Buddy and Grace Babcock of Fayetteville. The Babcock and Condray Families Innovative Teaching Endowment in Chemical Engineering will be created with a $1 million gift and benefit the College of Engineering. The gift will also count toward Campaign Arkansas, the university’s $1.25 billion capital campaign to advance academic opportunity at the U of A.

Ansel Condray met Buddy Babcock through their involvement with the College of Engineering, where Condray served on an advisory council and Babcock was a professor and department head of chemical engineering. The two shared previous work experience with ExxonMobil as well.

“We’re doing this together,” Ansel Condray said of the gift. “Buddy focused on and enjoyed teaching students, and I’ve always been interested in making sure the university maintains quality in teaching.”

The Babcock and Condray Families Innovative Teaching Endowment in Chemical Engineering will promote the integration of academic scholarship and industry-related “soft skills,” such as leadership, integrity, professionalism and poise – all qualities that Ansel says were inspired by Babcock. The endowment will also allow the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering to provide unique learning opportunities for students by hiring experienced professionals, either practicing or retired, to support the teaching and service mission of the department. Each professional will be known as a “Dr. Robert E. ‘Buddy’ Babcock Professor of Practice.”

“A gift of this magnitude will shape the College of Engineering for years to come,” said John English, dean of the College of Engineering. “The combined focus on academic excellence and industry-related soft skills will give students a major advantage as they take what they’ve learned in the classroom out into industry.”

David Ford, head of the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering, said the gift would position future chemical engineering students for success at the university and beyond.

“This endowment will set chemical engineering students on a path to success by enhancing not only their classroom experience through excellent teaching, but also providing critical skills that will help them stand out in their professional lives after they graduate. This lines up perfectly with Buddy Babcock’s philosophy as a teacher. We’re deeply appreciative that the Babcock and Condray families have chosen to give back to the department in such a meaningful way.”

“My interest has always been in chemical engineering,” Ansel Condray said. “The college has been trying to improve its standing, and this endowment will give them a boost. The professionals supported with this endowment will be able to share their experience with students and help give them a glimpse into their industry of choice.”

The Condrays and Babcocks are all graduates of the University of Arkansas. Ansel Condray holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, and his wife, Virginia, earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the College of Education and Health Professions. Buddy and Grace Babcock are graduates of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences – he holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art. The Babcocks’ two sons, Robert Jr. and D. Benjamin, are also alumni of the university.

Buddy and Grace Babcock are counted as Thoroughreds for their 10 years of consecutive giving to the University of Arkansas. Ansel and Virginia Condray are life members of the Arkansas Alumni Association, members of the Chancellor’s Society and counted as Thoroughreds for their 16 years of consecutive giving to the U of A. They are also members of the Towers of Old Main, a giving society for the university’s most generous benefactors.

The Condray and Babcock families joined students, staff and faculty from the College of Engineering on campus April 26 for a reception to celebrate the gift.

About Campaign Arkansas: Campaign Arkansas is the ongoing capital campaign for the University of Arkansas to raise private gift support for the university’s academic mission and other key priorities. The campaign’s goal is to raise $1.25 billion to support academic and need-based scholarships, technology enhancements, new and renovated facilities, undergraduate, graduate and faculty research, study abroad opportunities and other innovative programs. The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines as it works to fulfill its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Jennifer Holland, director of development communications
University Relations
479-575-7346, jholland@uark.edu

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