Scott Rocklage, PhD '82 and his wife Patty are celebrated for their major gift

Liz McGrath
July 29, 2016

“MIT gave me the foundation for my professional life and career and with gratitude toward the Chemistry Department my wife and I offer this gift.”  Scott Rocklage, PhD ’82.

On July 18, 2016, Dr. Scott Rocklage, PhD ’82, and his wife Patty visited the department for a celebration of their major gift to assist with the costs associated with the renovation of Lester Wolfe Professor of Chemistry, Moungi Bawendi’s nanochemistry and nanotechnology lab space in Building 2. 

Dr. Rocklage carried out his PhD studies in the Department of Chemistry under Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, Professor Richard R. Schrock. 

After a tour of the newly renovated lab space given by Professor Bawendi and two of his graduate students, Whitney Hess and He Wei, Bawendi group members and faculty gathered in the lab’s vestibule, where a plaque honoring the Rocklages is displayed.  There, they heard tributes to the Rocklages paid by current Department Head, Timothy Jamison, former Department Head, Sylvia Ceyer, and Professor Moungi Bawendi.

In an alumnus profile featured in the department’s newsletter, in 2010, Rocklage said, “I had always been a survivalist and accomplishment junkie.  Little did I know how much those skills were going to be needed at MIT.  I had the good fortune of being accepted into the then-nascent Richard R. Schrock research group that was full of fun guys and gals with big intellects and big dreams.  We were led by a combination of Dick’s incredible drive for success and each of our own value systems to overachieve, because plain old achievement wasn’t going to be enough to distinguish you and your work.  I was also fortunate to make some great lifelong friends while at MIT – thanks to Howard Turner, Jere Fellman, and Clayton Wood for all the “chelate” activities!  However, competition for projects, reagents, glove-box time, and of course Dick’s time, created quite the volatile atmosphere.  It was that very atmosphere that brought the best performance out in each of the graduate students.”

When former Department Head, Sylvia Ceyer approached Dr. Rocklage about the possibility of contributing to the needs of the department, his immediate reaction was,  “absolutely – where do you have the most pressing need?