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From the Associate Chair: Then and NowContinued

(the south wing (50’s) was then the home of the Department of Chemical Engineering) is a far cry from today’s three building complex. Drake Hall was built starting in 1973, Lammot DuPont Laboratory in 1993. The complete renovation of the south (1995), north (2005-2006), and west (2006-07) wings of Brown, coupled with the construction of Lammot DuPont, represents a ca. $70 million investment in CHEM/BIOC infrastructure by the University. The construction of a new science teaching laboratory building (for CHEM/BIOC, BISC, and PHYS), with a concomitant renovation of Drake, is on the far horizon.

Faculty growth has been equally impressive:

CHEM Faculty — 1964


Wallace H. McCurdy, Jr. (Illinois) [1959-1992]


Don Dennis (Brandeis) [1961-1999]

(the late) John C. Wriston, Jr. (Columbia) [1955-1985]


John L. Burmeister (Northwestern) [1964- ]


(the late) Elizabeth Dyer (Yale) [1933-1971]

(the late) Harold Kwart (Harvard)


Organic Continued

(the late) James A. Moore (Penn State) [1955-1987]

(the late) William A. Mosher, Chairman (Penn State) [1945-1972]

Edward E. Schweizer (MIT) [1961-1994]


(the late) Harold C. Beachell (NYU) [1946-1975]

Conrad N. Trumbore (Penn State) [1960-1997]

(the late) Carl A. von Frankenberg (Penn) [1961-1997]

Robert H. Wood (California-Berkeley) [1957-2002]

CHEM/BIOC Faculty — 2008


Thomas P. Beebe (Pittsburgh [2001]

Karl S. Booksh (Washington) [2007]

Steven D. Brown (Washington) [1986]

Murray V. Johnston (Wisconsin) [1990]

M.S. Burnaby Munson (Texas) [1967]

Sharon L. Neal (Emory) [1998]


Brian J. Bahnson (Brown) [1998]

Junghuei Chen (NYU) [1995]

Roberta Colman (Harvard) [1973]

Mahendra K. Jain (Weizmann) [1973]

Colin Thorpe (Kent) [1978]

Sharon Rozovsky (Columbia) [2008]

Harold B. White (Brandeis) [1971]

Zhihao Zhuang (New Mexico) [2007]


Svilen S. Bobev (Notre Dame) [2004]

John E. Bulkowski (Carnegie-Mellon)[1975]

John L. Burmeister

 Associate Chair (Northwestern) [1964]

Charles G. Riordan (Texas A&M) [1997]

Klaus H. Theopold

 Chair (California-Berkeley) [1990]


Joseph M. Fox (Columbia [2001]

John T. Koh (Columbia) [1996]

Joel P. Schneider (Texas A&M) [1999]

Douglass F. Taber (Columbia) [1982]

Neal J. Zondlo (Yale) [2001]


Douglas J. Doren (Harvard) [1998]

Cecil Dybowski (Texas) [1976]

Sandeep A. Patel (MIT) [2006]

Tatyana Polenova (Columbia) [2003]

Douglas P. Ridge (Cal Tech) [1972]

Andrew V. Teplyakov

 Assistant Chair (Columbia) [1998]

Chemistry Education

Kathryn C. Scantlebury (Purdue) [1993]

General Chemistry

Susan E. Groh (Stanford) [1984]

Mary E. Kramer (Delaware, MS) [1986]

James A. Wingrave (Texas) [1999]

Education Specialist

Dana S. Chatellier (Delaware, MA) [1986]


In addition to the major growth spurts in the ANAL, BIOC, and INOR Divisions, we have added a Secondary Chemistry Education component, as well as a CNTT (Continuing Non-Tenure Track) faculty group and a staff member specializing in Chemical Education. Prof. Kate Scantlebury coordinates all of the University’s secondary science programs. Profs. Susan Groh and James Wingrave, with Ms. Mary Beth Kramer (MS76) and Mr. Dana Chatellier (MA84) teach the equivalent of a dozen research-active faculty members every fall and spring term.

Changes at the helm have been equally dramatic:

Department Chairs

Albert Eastman 1944-1944

Quaesita Drake 1945-1945

William Mosher 1945-1969

Robert Wood 1969-1971

Luigi Venanzi 1971-1973

Burnaby Munson 1973-1975

Donald Wetlaufer 1975-1985

Thomas Brill 1985-1986

Jean Futrell 1986-1995

Douglas Ridge 1995-1995

Klaus Theopold 1996-1996

Jean Futrell 1996-1997

Steven Brown 1997-2002

Charles Riordan 2002-2007

Klaus Theopold 2007 - present

Associate Chair

John L. Burmeister 1974 – present

Assistants to the Chair

Peter G. Sparks 1969-1974

Joseph W. Camperson 1974-1980

Charlotte F. Hoffman 1980-1984

Susan Dunn-Coleman 1984-1985

J. Edward Cathell 1985-1998

Catherine Q. Skelly 1998-2003

Diane Quig 2004-2007

Eileen Burns 2008 – present

David Murray* 2008 – present

*Manager of Operations

Assistant Chairs/Directors of Graduate Studies

Henry N. Blount III 1983-1984

Roger A. Murray 1984-1988

Mary J. Wirth 1988-1989

Conrad N. Trumbore 1989-1995

Don Dennis 1995-1997

Murray V. Johnston 1997-1999

Charles G. Riordan 1999-2002

Eugene Mueller 2002-2005

Andrew V. Teplyakov 2005 – 2008

Brian J. Bahnson 2008 - present

In 1964, Chairman William Mosher managed every aspect of the Department. An Assistant to the Chair was added in 1969, an Associate Chair (for the undergraduate program) in 1974, and a Director of Graduate Studies in 1983. This year, the Assistant to the Chair position was further sub-divided, with the creation of the Manager of Operations position.

The growth in support staff since 1964 dwarfs that in all other categories. Incredibly, in 1964, we made do with just four staff members! Although (the late) Mr. John Ferrante’s formal title was that of Chemistry Storeroom Manager, he really was a jack-of-all-trades. He was assisted by Mr. Christos Poulos. In addition, our faculty of 13 was served by two secretaries: Mrs. Lorraine M. Koppel (Chairman Mosher’s secretary) and Ms. Judith Slack. Those were the days of no internal accounting and purple on white ditto copies!

Today, our supporting staff (32 in number) is almost exactly the same size as our faculty. The Chemistry Storeroom is now a one-person operation (Ms. Connie Smith) and, having been privatized, is run by Fisher Scientific. The erstwhile secretarial staff has grown to an administrative support staff of seven. The Chair, Associate Chair, and Director of Graduate Studies have Staff Assistants (Ms. Susan Cheadle, Ms. Linda Staib, and Ms. Jennifer Durkin, respectively). The Assistant to the Chair, Ms. Eileen Burns, supervises the remaining administrative support staff (Administrative Assistant, Ms. Sue James [HR Liaison] and Senior Secretaries Ms. Betty Cowgill and Ms. Tracy McQueen), as well as the financial services staff (Coordinator Mr. Gus Mandrachia and Senior Records Specialist Mr. Michael DiMauro) and the Grants Administrator Coordinator, Ms. Brenda Stewart.

On the operations side, our Manager of Operations, Mr. David Murray, supervises the Glass Shop, (Mr. Douglas Nixon, Master Glass Specialist), the Instrument Shop (Mr. James Draper, Master Electronic/Instrument Specialist and Mr. John Famiglietti, Senior Electronic/Instrument Specialist), the Machine Shop (Mr. Jack Kelly, Senior Machinist), and Laboratory Services (Mr. David Nicolson, Manager, Ms. Beily Street, Senior Lab Technician, Ms. Linda Bostwick, Records Technician, and Mr. Federico Cruz (MA99), Coordinator of Advanced Instructional Labs).

In addition, five staff members report directly to the Chair: those in our Computing Center (Mr. Patrick McMahon, Campus Information Technology Associate III, and Mr. James Cleaver, Master Electronic Specialist), Dr. Steve Bai, NMR Spectroscopist, Dr. Glenn Yap, X-ray Crystallographer, and Mr. John Dykins, Mass Spectrometrist. Our Education Specialist, Mr. Dana Chatellier (MA84) reports to the Associate Chair.

Rounding out the staff are the HHMI Program Coordinator, Ms. Jacqueline Aldridge, and her Staff Assistant, Ms. Lisa Robinson, supervised by Prof. Harold White, and the COBRE Staff Assistant, Ms. Vicki Paisley, supervised by the COBRE PI, Prof. Mahendra Jain. Although she is formally employed by Morris Library, our Chemistry Library Supervisor, Ms. Barbara E. Vaughn, is very much a member of the CHEM/BIOC family, as is Ms. Laura V. Reiter who, as Senior Secretary for the BRIDGES Program in Brown Lab, is formally employed by the Department of Biological Sciences.

NUCLEUSPhoto by Kathy Atkinson
Profs. David Usher (BISC) (Left) and Hal White (right), directors of UD’s HHMI program, with current NUCLEUS program coordinator Jacqueline Aldridge (center) and past coordinators Cheri Dotson (second from left) and Victoria Orner.

All of this growth aside, the most profound change is to be found in the Department’s attitude toward female students. Consider the following descriptions in the Chemistry section of the 1964 U of D catalog:

"Because of the fundamental importance of chemistry, the demand for men and women especially trained this field is great. An increasing number of industrial executives are men with training in chemistry; intermediate positions offer an unusual variety of occupational prospects: experiment and development in laboratories; supervision and production in plants; sales; and consultation in the field.

Women trained in chemistry find ready employment in medical research, foods, textiles, and cosmetics. Other careers are open to those who combine some work in chemistry with secretarial training or with foreign languages, especially German, Russian, and French, or with library science."

While it is possible that these overtly sexist views may have resulted from the repetition, though benign neglect, of statements written at a still earlier time, it is disturbing to note that they did not disappear in subsequent catalog editions until 1974. Today’s 50/50 ratio of female/male CHEM/BIOC/XCE majors offers compelling evidence that this discriminatory attitude has finally been laid to rest.

In 1964, the Department offered only two undergraduate degrees: BA/CHEM and BS/CHEM, the latter having been certified by the ACS in 1941. Compared with their current counterparts, the former had much more rigid requirements. For example, German was the required foreign language in both programs. The infamous History and Government of Delaware course was required of all students, as was four semesters of ROTC training and two semesters of physical education. Instead of the huge number of choices possible for today’s Group A/B/C arts, humanities, and social sciences breadth requirements, two semesters of the History of European Civilization were required.

Only one first semester general chemistry course was offered for all students in 1964: CHEM-101. However, it was taught in three very different sections, with Prof. Mosher lecturing one hour/week to each (2 hrs/week were spent in small discussion sections): section B, which evolved into our present CHEM-111/112 sequence (regular and honors sections) for CHEM, BIOC, and CHEG majors; section K, which evolved into our present CHEM-103/104 sequence (regular and honors sections) for all other science and engineering majors; and section N, which is still numbered CHEM-101/102, for all other majors, save nursing, for which CHEM-105/106 was created several decades ago.

In like manner, organic chemistry and physical chemistry made do, in 1964, with only one two-semester sequence each. Today, we offer three beginning organic courses (CHEM-213, CHEM-321/322 (our so-called pre-med course) and CHEM-331/332/333/334 (for CHEM, BIOC and CHEG majors)) and two P-chem courses (CHEM-418/419 (for BIOC majors) and CHEM-443/444 (for CHEM and CHEG majors)). Unlike today, neither inorganic chemistry nor biochemistry were required courses in 1964.

Following the addition of Biochemistry to our Department’s name in 1986, we established our BS/BIOC program in 1989 and our BS/CHEM/Environmental Chemistry Concentration program in 1995. As a sign of the times, the BS/BIOC program has grown to the point that it now graduates twice the number of students as those graduating from the BS/CHEM program. The BA/Chemistry Education program was created in 1980.

While I cannot cite comparable data from 1964, one can safely conclude that our undergraduate programs have grown in size, stature, and effectiveness. Four data points will suffice to substantiate this conclusion. In 2006, (the most recent year for which the ACS has reported graduation data), our Department ranked 9th, out of 640 schools, in the number of certified degrees awarded (54). During the past 24 years, our regular CHEM-112 classes have performed, on average, at the 80th national percentile level on their standardized ACS General Chemistry final examinations. (During the period 1986-2002, the Honors CHEM-112 students recorded a 95th percentile average performance!) From 1993 through 2002, our Department produced the 21st largest group of baccalaureate graduates (70) who eventually earned doctorates in chemistry, out of 1052 schools. Finally, since 1949, our students stand 1st, out of 62 schools, in the number of awards earned at the annual Intercollegiate Student Chemists Conventions. ‘Nuff said!

Although my administrative balliwick has been in the undergraduate program for the past 34 years, I would be remiss, if I did not summarize the concomitant changes that have taken place in our graduate program. Programmatically, as may be seen from the following comparison, the changes have been far-reaching:




Proficiency examinations covering major subfields taken upon entrance


Passage required, otherwise remedial undergraduate work required


No longer given


Graduate courses


Six semester courses required, including two in physical chemistry, two in the major field, and two in one or two other fields.


Six 3-credit semester core courses required, make-up determined by choice of major field; in consultation with research adviser.


Language examinations


Passage of examinations of reading proficiency in 2 different foreign languages required.


No longer given


Cumulative examinations


A monthly series of examinations covering the major field given during the second year, passage required


Still given, passage required


Preliminary oral examination


An examination of research progress, passage required no later than 6 months prior to dissertation defense


Still given, passage required


Final defense of dissertation






The growth in the size and stature of our graduate program since 1964 has been eye-catching. Fully 150 full-time graduate students are now in residence, ca. 50 of whom, on average, are supported as teaching assistants. We reached our high-water mark in external grant funding in 2006, with ca. $9 million in active research grants (1st for all departments at the U of D, 37/196 chemistry doctoral programs nationally). All of the foregoing becomes even more impressive, when one realizes that we did not award our first doctorate in chemistry until 1948 (Tony Neidig – see Alumni News section).

All things considered, it has been quite a ride, and I am pleased and proud to have been part of it.
John Burmeister

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Blue Hen Chemist Number 25
August 2008
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