Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Helping students succeed: Marangoni Family, including StFX professor Dr. Gerry Marangoni, donate $100,000 to StFX Chemistry

March 29th, 2021
Dr. Gerry Marangoni delivers remarks during the announcement

StFX science students will have even more opportunity to participate in undergraduate research and to learn new skills thanks to a generous gift of $100,000 the university has received from the Marangoni Family, which includes longtime StFX chemistry professor Dr. Gerry Marangoni. 

The donation from the Marangoni Family to the Chemistry Department will be used to create a fund to support student research, capital equipment acquisition, and to create an endowment for future needs.

“Thank you to you and your family,” StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin said during the announcement made March 29, 2021 during a ceremony held in the Sobey’s Reading Room, Physical Science Centre, and livestreamed to the campus community. 

“It’s a game-changer, Gerry.”

Bringing students into the game is what we do at StFX, Dr. Hakin said, and this donation will help provide even more opportunities to involve students in research. 

During his remarks, Dr. Hakin spoke about Prof. Marangoni’s many achievements, both in the classroom and outside of it, and noted that an aspect that really stands out about the chemistry professor is his curiosity. He asks really great questions about the world and pushes the boundaries for answers. “He’s passing that on to the next generation of learners. That curiosity is being fed into the students.”

In explaining the thinking behind his family’s donation, Dr. Marangoni said the gift is about supporting the department, helping enable even more student research, and helping provide equipment and an endowment for future needs.

“As a department, we take a lot of pride in the work we do in teaching and research,” he said, noting how his family hopes this gift will enable students to have that lab experience “we so highly value. 

“Our family thought it was important to make a contribution. It’s a contribution that we’re really proud of.”


Fourth year honours chemistry students Nicole MacNeil and Taylor Doucet, who have both worked as research assistants in Dr. Marangoni’s lab, spoke on a personal level about what this donation will mean to students.

“This funding will give peace of mind to students and professors wanting to do research as some of the money will be going to supporting undergraduate students wanting to gain research experience,” Ms. Doucet say.

She says this experience is invaluable for students. 

“I would not trade my time working in Dr. Marangoni’s lab for the world. The experience I’ve gained, and friendships I’ve made are irreplaceable.” 

Ms. MacNeil said research opportunities during undergraduate studies allows students like her the opportunity to apply what they learn in classes and teaching labs for practical, real-world purposes. 

“Experience in a lab environment helps students to really learn about the process of research and explore ideas in science outside of the classroom and gain skills in data collection and interpretation,” she says. “This donation will provide the funding for more undergraduate science students to be able to participate in research. 

“This donation will also fund crucial new equipment for the department to use for research and teaching activities.” 

One of the pieces of research equipment that this donation will help fund is a Benchtop NMR.

Shannon MacLellan, a 2019 chemistry graduate and current second year education student, served as emcee. She says she often thinks about how grateful she is to have had such great educators and mentors in this department, and she looks forward to emulating those characteristics herself in the coming years. 

“This department and its members hold a special place in my heart, and I know this donation will have a wonderful impact for students, staff, and faculty, for years to come.”

Dr. Gerry Marangoni (centre) at the announcement, with StFX Academic Vice-President and Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley (left) and StFX President Dr. Andy Hakin

Dr. Marangoni’s long relationship with the StFX Chemistry Department spans back to 1992. 

Over the years, he has helped educate young scientists, who have gone on to varied careers, contributed to breakthroughs in fundamental knowledge, and supported the economy by helping create new products and companies.

Along with his teaching and research work, Dr. Marangoni is the founder and scientific advisory board member of SONA Nanotech, a nanotechnology life sciences firm that has developed multiple proprietary methods for the manufacture of various types of gold nanoparticles and used this technology to develop a COVID-19 rapid antigen test. The company has developed an innovative line of gold nanoparticles for life sciences applications including hyperthermal cancer treatment and diagnostic imaging.

Dr. Marangoni is also the founder, with Dr. Kulbir Singh, of GMS Surface Tech. This company created environmentally friendly cleaning products that are highly effective products for scent-free environments and scent sensitive people. The company’s first line of green products included a successful whiteboard cleaner that is both scent-free and environmentally friendly. Their products are carried nationally by many major office product chains and are beginning to be exported to other markets within North America. 


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