Exxon gifts UG $8M to replace lab equipment destroyed by fire

An officer at the University doing a demonstration with one of the equipment sponsored by Exxon in the presence of Rod Henson, UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Giffith and other officials
An official at the University doing a demonstration with one of the equipment sponsored by Exxon in the presence of  Exxon’s Country Manager Rod Henson, UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, among others

The University of Guyana (UG) Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Mathematics, Physics and  Statistics (MPS) has received  equipment purchased with a gift of US$40, 000 from American multinational oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil.

According to UG’s Philanthropy, Alumni & Civic Engagement (PACE) Office, this substantial gift was received after a request was made following a fire in 2015 at the University.

The fire destroyed a section of the Faculty of Natural Sciences building which housed the equipment for various departments.

Among the items destroyed in the fire; were all the physics laboratory equipment belonging to the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Statistics (MPS), the Computer Sciences Department equipment and the specimen collections and equipment from the Department of Biology.

Moreover, it was outlined that the faculty lost critical research in the areas of online education and information technologies, renewable energy technologies, biodiversity and ecosystems assessment and natural resources management.

As a result of this devastating loss to Guyana’s national University, a request was made to ExxonMobil for funds to replace the lab.

PACE said that a gift of US$40,000 (forty thousand) was given to aid the Department of Mathematics, Physics & Statistics (MPS) in replacing the lab equipment that were destroyed.

Among the highly specialized equipment purchased were;1 Baader Multi-Purpose Coma Corrector, 1 Bsc Optics Diode Laser; Wireless Temperature Sensor; Demo Mirror Concave; 1 Meade Series 5000 HD-60 Eyepiece Kit; 1 Orion XX 16G GO-TO Truss Dobson Ian Telescope; ZWO ASI 071 Pro Cooled Color CMOS Telescope and others. The equipment were purchased from two companies (PASCO and OPT) at a cost of US$37,071 and arrived in Guyana in September 2018.

According to the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Calvin Bernard “After the fire, the physics programme was ‘crippled’ by the inability to deliver the quality learning experiences necessary for the success of the students due to the lack of equipment for practical work. Lecturers struggled to improvise and compensate.”

He further stated that “With the new equipment, the quality of the educational experience in the physics courses has been lifted significantly. This is particularly important as the Faculty and University seeks to ensure it prepares graduates for roles in a more technologically advanced economy including oil and gas”.

The Faculty is especially thankful to ExxonMobil for its contribution in making the recovery process possible. ExxonMobil was the first and only major corporate entity to offer assistance after the devastating fire.

Head of the Department of Mathematics , Dwyane Renville, extended sincere gratitude on behalf of the University citing relief that the lab equipment was “finally here”.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paloma Mohamed has noted that “the University since 2016, through the Office PACE has been building a strong relationship with ExxonMobil and their affiliates which includes strategic funding, capacity building and CSR collaborations”.

ExxonMobil’s Guyana President and Country Manager Rod Henson noted, “The youth today are our leaders of tomorrow, and education is fundamental to their ongoing development. We are pleased to provide this support to the University of Guyana and its students to further advance math and science learning today and in the future.”


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