FSU Returns Donation to Famed Chemistry Professor

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Eleven million dollars is how much FSU is returning to scientist Robert Holton, known for creating the cancer drug Taxol.

Holton donated the money as part of an apparent agreement to have the chemistry building be constructed with a MDS research arm.

"The eleven million dollars is a big issue and we hate it when we have to give money back for any reason, but we have to move forward with what is in the best interest of the university," says Brooks Keel, FSU's Associate VP for Research.

Eyewitness News was unable to reach Dr. Holton for comment, but Mike Devine, director of Holton's MDS Research Foundation, made the following remarks during a press conference via phone:

"It is really unfortunate that FSU continues to error on the facts, to miss-characterize the issues and engage in personal attacks against Dr. Holton.”

FSU President T.K. Wetherell was unavailable for an on camera interview, but in a written statement Wetherell credits Holton as being a great scientist, but says, quote, "No single professor, no matter how accomplished, has the right to dictate the direction a public university should take, especially at the cost of other areas’ research."

Devine says the return of the money does nothing to resolve the lawsuit and mediation in this case is still on the books for late January.

Meanwhile, construction of the new chemistry building has begun and is set to be completed in the summer of 2007.