Ripon receives substantial gift of laboratory supplies worth more than $54,000

Ripon College has received a significant donation of laboratory assets from Luxerin Laboratories LLC in Fond du Lac. The massive donation includes equipment, chemicals, glassware, textbooks and supplies valued at just over $54,000.

Luxerin Laboratories LLC was founded in 1967 as a family business to fill microbiological testing needs. After the death of founder Patrick Sheridan in November 2020, Luxerin Laboratories now has ceased daily operations. “For 53 years, my father took pride in serving customers across Wisconsin and the greater Upper Midwest and always found opportunities to teach and learn the latest in biology and microbiology,” Sheridan’s son, William Sheridan, says.

As the family was working to close the firm’s operations and reconcile the collections, they sought to make a donation that would benefit others. Numerous individuals from Ripon College and Luxerin Laboratories were involved in the mutually beneficial exchange.

Faculty from the departments of biology, chemistry and physics all were invited to be recipients of the gift. When Professor of Biology Mark Kainz and Associate Professor of Chemistry Patrick Willoughby visited the Fond du Lac facility to access the assets, they “were overwhelmed at what was available,” Kainz says. “Looking in the lab rooms gave us an idea that the donation could be huge and really help us out. Once we entered the lab rooms and started looking into cupboards and drawers, the magnitude of the donation grew with each door or drawer we opened.”

The professors coordinated with Vice President for Advancement Shawn Karsten and John Tobin, grounds manager of Physical Plant, to arrange transportation of the items to Ripon. Several staff members of Physical Plant, faculty members from Farr Hall of Science and many summer research students supplied vehicles and assistance to transport items from the Luxerin lab to Farr.

Donated items were distributed among several faculty members as well as science teachers from Ripon High School.

Kainz says the donated materials will help the Ripon College departments in several ways:

  • Upgrades to benches in the chemistry labs.
  • Upgrades to Associate Professor of Biology Barbara Sisson’s zebrafish facility.
  • Added refrigerator space in the biology and chemistry departments.
  • Added incubator space in biology and chemistry.
  • A water purification system that will be useful for the quantitative analysis labs as well as general use in Farr.
  • A substantial addition to Ripon’s microbiological culture media that will allow expansion of lab exercises in microbiology to include food microbiology and clinical microbiology.
  • Replenished stocks of laboratory glassware — beakers, flasks, reagent bottles, etc.
  • A significant supply of disposable lab items that otherwise would have had to be purchased.
  • Upgraded pH meters with research-grade instruments.

Keinz says this donation also will allow Ripon to add exercises to the microbiology lab to include food and clinical microbiology; and will make the microbiology labs more efficient as the added equipment will allow less waiting time for students using equipment and instruments.

Joanne Sheridan, Patrick Sheridan’s widow, says she feels “very thankful that the donations you have received from Luxerin Laboratory LLC will be used to help your students learn on their journeys of life in their chosen careers. What could be better than that? My husband’s legacy continues to live on in their lives. … Jesus says in the Bible, ‘It is more blessed to give than receive.’ And in the ‘giving,’ we all ‘received’ blessings beyond all measure.”

(Photo: Faculty, staff and students unload donations of science equipment at Farr Hall)

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