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FAYETTEVILLE -- A $50,000 gift from a family of University of Arkansas, Fayetteville graduates will honor a chemical engineering professor who died last year.

The gift from Michael and Janet Mourot will establish the Dr. Jim L. Turpin Student Advising Center.

"It was special to me to have Dr. Turpin as a mentor and then to have my two sons also mentored by him. It is a bond we will always share," Michael Mourot, who earned a bachelor's degree in 1976 and a master's degree in 1977, said in a statement released by UA.

The couple's sons, Joshua and Jordan, also earned chemical engineering degrees from the university, as did Joshua's wife Rebecca.

Turpin won several teaching awards while at UA, including the Carnegie Foundation Arkansas Professor of the Year award in 1996. Turpin died last year in Fayetteville at age 82, according to obituary information.

"Mentorship was at the core of Dr. Turpin's role in the department," Joshua Mourot, a 2003 UA graduate, said in a statement released by the university. "He was a great teacher and a transformational mentor."

The gift will be used to renovate the main office space for the university's chemical engineering department, which is on the third floor of UA's Bell Engineering Center, said university spokesman Nick DeMoss. An endowment will also be created to help enhance advising services provided to students, DeMoss said.

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