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The Waterborne Symposium

Environmentally Friendly Coating Technologies

Looking for current technologies, training and advancements in the paint and coatings field? 


All proceeds go to support students in the Polymer Science Program at the University of Southern Mississippi.  

Today’s students are tomorrow’s industry leaders!


About the Waterborne Symposium 


The idea of an annual technical conference for the coatings industry was conceived and founded by three faculty members of the Department of Polymer Science at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM): Drs. Gary Wildman, George Bufkin, and Shelby Thames. The results of their efforts—the first “Water-Borne and Higher-Solids Coating Symposium”—was held August 13–15, 1973, in New Orleans, LA and attracted 135 attendees.

Following the success of the first Symposium, the founders decided that future symposia would be more advantageously scheduled during the winter in New Orleans, and particularly just prior to Mardi Gras. Without exception, the Symposium has been organized as a three-day meeting: two full days, plus a “shortened” third day (ending midday or early afternoon) to allow attendees to return home that evening. The early symposia were held Monday through Wednesday; however, in  1985, the program moved permanently to a Wednesday to Friday format. Over the years, the Symposium has expanded into a week-long event encompassing multiple activities. In 1989, Monday and Tuesday short courses were added to the program. In subsequent years, as many as six short courses were offered per year, some starting as early as the Saturday prior to the Symposium. The Technology Showcase was added in 1998, as a forum for scientists and engineers representing manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers to present their most recent developments in an interactive booth format. The Technology Showcase typically begins on the Tuesday prior to the Symposium and extends through the second day of the Symposium.



From its inception, The Waterborne Symposium has been organized and executed by faculty, staff, and students of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials (formerly the Department of Polymer Science) at USM. Proceeds from the Symposium are very important to USM and the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials. Funds received are used for various elements of academic program development, including graduate student stipends, junior faculty development, equipment acquisition and maintenance, and especially, scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in Polymer Science  and Polymer Science & Engineering, most of whom enter the coatings or related polymer industries upon graduation. These scholarships are critical to the university’s efforts to recruit the highest achieving students into our program



To administer the preeminent educational/technical forum in the United States directed to the science and technology of surface coatings and  to provide revenue to support and advance the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Until next year the Waterborne community will have to console itself with a classic jazz title: "Do you know what it means to Miss New Orleans?"



CoatingTech's History of the Waterborne Symposium

Originally Appeared in January 2013 Issue of Coatings Tech, pp 36-38