MINNEAPOLIS - The largest cash gift in the history of the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering may not be the biggest contribution Robert Gore has ever made to Minnesota.
Gore, who invented the Gore-Tex fabric that bears his name, has been keeping cold weather residents warm and dry for decades.
Friday, Gore took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for a $28 million expansion of Amundson Hall, home of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
Gore contributed $10 million to the project. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the U of M in 1963.
"I don't want to make all the Minnesotans blush," he said before the groundbreaking, "but they have a real gem in Minnesota in terms of the education that can be obtained."
Gore stumbled on Gore-Tex in the late 1960s while searching for a way to manufacturer Teflon plumbers tape more cheaply.
"It's a great example of aiming one direction and having it go another," he said.
The material he created soon found applications in the textile industry, given Gore-Tex's ability to shed water while still breathing.
"What it's done for all kinds of outdoor activities is definitely revolutionary," said Todd Brewer, president of Hoigaard's which sells jackets, shoes, tents and gloves made from Gore-Tex.
Construction on the 40,000 square foot addition to Amundson Hall is scheduled to begin next year.
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