John Motley Morehead, Jr.
Venable's scientific skills linked him to a major industrial discovery with important benefits to Carolina. After graduation in 1891, Venable's student John Motley Morehead III joined his father and inventor Thomas L. Willson in experiments that produced calcium carbide, the source of a mysterious gas. Venable and his current students identified the gas as acetylene, a valuable source of light and heat. The Union Carbide Corporation grew out of this discovery, and Morehead built a large fortune. He became a major donor to the university, establishing the Morehead-Cain Scholars program and the Morehead Planetarium.