Sherwin-Williams gives $1 million for CWRU’s Institute for Advanced Materials

The Sherwin-Williams Co. announced plans to commit $1 million toward materials research through the Institute for Advanced Materials (IAM) at Case Western Reserve University.

With the commitment, the Cleveland-based producer of paints and coatings combines nearly 150 years as an international leader in materials and coatings with Case Western Reserve’s extensive research in advanced materials and polymers. The funding will support collaborative projects with Case Western Reserve faculty and graduate students aimed at creating innovative designs in coating technologies.

“Sherwin-Williams’ work with the Institute for Advanced Materials and our faculty has helped to fuel a number of innovations in materials research across the Case Western Reserve campus, and we are delighted that this commitment will build on our productive partnership,” said Stuart Rowan, director of the institute and Kent Hale Smith Professor of Engineering at Case Western Reserve. “We are excited for the potential of our continued collaboration and the vision, not only to advance coatings technologies, but also make a positive impact on our region’s economy.”

Founded in 2010, IAM aims to enhance and energize Ohio’s industrial base and manufacturing capability by leveraging a broad range of materials as a foundation for innovations in multiple technology sectors.

The institute provides an interdisciplinary research approach at Case Western Reserve, serving as an engine to advance new materials research and enhance the region’s economic viability.

“We deeply appreciate Sherwin-Williams’ long engagement with our university and more recent involvement with our Institute for Advanced Materials,” said W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III, Case Western Reserve’s provost and executive vice president. “The institute has catalyzed impressive partnerships within Case Western Reserve, and this new commitment will foster even more collaboration between our organizations. We are very grateful.”

The two institutions, whose roots each date to the 1800s, have partnered on various endeavors since Sherwin-Williams opened its first chemistry research lab 75 years ago on what is now the Case Western Reserve campus. The global coatings company previously has invested in research through IAM, has routinely sponsored university events and has participated in executive education programs at CWRU.

The company and university share a history in other areas as well. The son of one of the firm’s co-founders served as a trustee at Adelbert College and Cleveland College, both of which became part of what is now Case Western Reserve. And several Case Western Reserve graduates have served in executive positions at Sherwin-Williams, including former Chief Executive Officers Walter Spencer and Jack Breen and several vice presidents. More than 70 CWRU alumni currently work for Sherwin-Williams.

“Our industry-leading R&D team and Innovation Excellence culture are the fuels that drive Sherwin-Williams to create the best products for our customers,” said Diana Strongosky, senior vice president of R&D Global Supply Chain and director of the Breen Technology Center. “Our continued success and growth depends on a robust innovation pipeline. Long-term productive partnerships, like the one we have with CWRU, are critical to developing best-in-class technology and the next generation of research scientists who will pioneer continuous innovations, which increase shareholder value and financial performance.”