Gilles Klopman, the Charles F. Mabery Professor Emeritus of Research in Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University and president and CEO of Beachwood, Ohio-based MultiCASE, Inc., has made seven-figure will commitment to the chemistry department in Case Western Reserve's College of Arts and Sciences.
Klopman's bequest will endow a professorship in chemistry as well as two prizes—one for faculty and one for undergraduates—in the name of Klopman and his wife, Malvina.
"Gilles Klopman's promised gift reflects his lifelong dedication to Case Western Reserve University, and he serves as a role model to other faculty members," said Cyrus C. Taylor, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Referring to the chemistry prizes that the bequest will support, the dean continued, "We are pleased to know that additional resources will be available to showcase our chemistry faculty and students for years to come."
"You always need money for operations," Klopman said. "But I wanted to do something different for the department and decided to create these awards to enhance the academic experience for students and recognize the work of the chemistry faculty."
Throughout his career, Klopman has pioneered "the innovative use of computers to address important chemical and biological problems," says Lawrence M. Sayre, chair of the chemistry department. Most notably, as president and CEO of MultiCASE, Inc., Klopman has led in the development of artificial intelligence programs that assess the health hazards posed by new chemicals.
MultiCASE's software provides pharmaceutical companies with an alternative to animal testing as a means of evaluating the potential toxicity of new drugs. And by allowing the risk assessment to be completed in as little as a minute, it saves these companies millions of dollars. If a chemical is found to have toxic effects, researchers will abandon it immediately, instead of continuing with a long and costly drug development process.
A native of Belgium, Klopman earned his Ph.D. at the University of Brussels before emigrating to the United States in 1965. He joined the chemistry faculty in 1967 and later served as department chair for 13 years. Appointed to the Mabery Professorship in 1988, he is also a professor of oncology and environmental health sciences at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. He served as the interim dean of science and mathematics in 1987 in the first year of Glenn Brown's deanship.
Klopman is the recipient of two major awards from the American Chemistry Society: the Morley Medal (1993) and the Patterson-Crane Award for Chemical Information (2005).
Once the professorship and prizes are established, Klopman has asked that any remaining funds be used to endow a Thursday evening subscription to The Cleveland Orchestra, for use by College of Arts and Sciences students, faculty and guests.
Klopman recalled that when former chemistry chair and Nobel laureate George Olah was recruiting him to join the chemistry faculty, he took Klopman to a concert at Severance Hall. The experience helped persuade him to come to Case Western Reserve.
"I thought, 'What a wonderful idea—to take me to the orchestra,'" Klopman said. "I want to do this for others."