PROFESSOr STAIRS Enhances Chemistry Department, Supports Students  

April 16, 2024

Professor Robert Stairs with 6 students in the lab

A gift from Trent University’s first Chemistry professor Dr. Robert Stairs establishes new scholarships, prizes, and a seminar series

A gift from professor emeritus Dr. Robert Stairs will enhance the Trent University Chemistry Department and support its students through new scholarships and prizes.   

The gift of $190,000 creates five new scholarships and prizes, enhances four current prizes, and establishes the Bob and Sybil Stairs Chemistry Seminar Series in honour of Professor Stairs’ late wife Sybil.   

“Trent University has been my second home for more than 25 years and I’m pleased to make this demonstration of gratitude,” Professor Stairs says. “I’ve always said Trent is one of the country’s best kept secrets and the Chemistry Department, in particular, has punched above its weight for years.”  

Professor Stairs was Trent’s first Chemistry professor when hired in 1964 and sustained a distinguished 26-year career at the University, where he twice served as Department chair. Sybil Stairs ˊ70 (Julian Blackburn College) graduated from Trent with a degree in English and Anthropology.  

“We thank Bob Stairs for continuing to support students and Trent as he has done since the founding of this University,” says Sherry Booth ’98, associate vice president Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement. “His legacy lives on in this generous gift that will support the bright young minds that pursue the Sciences at Trent for generations to come.”  

The new scholarships and prizes will be awarded to outstanding students in chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, and biochemistry.  

Since retiring in 1990, Prof. Stairs has stayed connected to the University by establishing the annual Stairs Lecture in Chemistry and returning to Trent regularly for lectures and special events.  

Learn more about supporting the bright young minds studying the Sciences at Trent University.