History of the Department

A Brief History of the Department of Chemistry
College of Arts & Sciences
University of Kentucky

by Dr. Lyle Dawson
March, 1970

In 1865, Federal Funds were granted to Kentucky University (now Transylvania University) for establishing an Agricultural and Mechanical College to be associated with it. The first classes under this organization were held in September, 1866.

Eleven schools were established within the A and M College. One of these was the School of Chemistry and Experimental Philosophy, which was headed by Dr. Robert Peter (1806-1894). Dr. Peter's career as a scientist and a teacher began in 1833 -- back in the dim reaches of Transylvania University. He had been a member of the Kentucky University faculty for several years. Despite President Patterson's repeated urging that the work in chemistry be expanded, Dr. Peter alone carried on the chemical training which was provided. He devoted some of his time to the State Geological Survey also for the next two decades.

In 1886 Professor A. E. Menke, who had been employed recently in agriculture, started his own classes in chemistry. This move was greatly resented by Dr. Peter but in June 1887 the chemistry departments in Agriculture and in the A and M College were consolidated with Professor Menke as head of the new department. Dr. Peter's position was abolished; he was given the title "Emeritus Professor" and allowed to retain his office. Dr. Peter's sustained devotion to chemistry and to science in general and his many years of expert professional service constituted a major contribution to the development of the institution which was later to become the University of Kentucky. The following year Dr. Joseph Kastle was employed to take charge of the training in chemistry.

Courses in the general, inorganic, analytical and organic areas were deve1oped in the A and M College. It appears that a course in chemical theory, which was the forerunner of the more modern physical chemistry course, was introduced about the turn of the century.

For many years, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the chemical laboratories and the lecture room occupied the east portion of the main college building. In September, 1889 however, the Experiment Station building having been completed, the apparatus and equipment were removed from the main building to more suitable rooms on the second floor of what was called the Experiment Station building. (It is now the Administration Annex). The rooms were well designed and appropriately equipped for effective work.

The lecture room had a seating capacity for seventy-five students. Qualitative and quantitative laboratories had desk space for thirty and fourteen students respectively. Other space on the second floor set aside for the Department included an instructor's office, a balance room and a storeroom. Within a year a metallurgical laboratory and an assay room were added to the department's space. Soon the departmental enrollment and its facilities increased so that it occupied the entire building. In a brochure published in 1903, it was stated that with the expansion at that time, into the entire building, the Department would be assured "permanent and adequate quarters for many years to come". Seven years later much needed additional space became available for chemistry.

In 1903, special items of equipment at hand included several delicate balances for analytical work, a basic model Bunsen and Kirchhoff spectroscope, platinum equipment, a complete outfit for electroplating, vapor density apparatus, freezing-point and boiling-point apparatus for the determinations of molecular weights, differential thermometers and a Pulfrich refractometer. Other items were purchased from time to time as the needs required and the limited resources of the institution permitted.

The chemical curriculum leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science with a major in chemistry was offered first in 1894. The course was established "with a view toward preparing the student for life work in chemistry or fitting him for the study of medicine". A short summary of this program of required studies follows.

The first year was devoted to the study of English, German, physiology, free-hand drawing and mathematics including geometry, trigonometry and algebra. The second year German, physics, botany, chemistry and mathematics including solid and analytical geometry and calculus were studied. Theoretical chemistry, English, calculus, French, and qualitative analysis came the third year. During the fourth year quantitative analysis, organic chemistry, reading and chemical research, history, political economy, logic and metaphysics were studied.

From 1888 to 1905, the chemical program was under the direction of Dr. J. H. Kastle (1864-1916). Dr. Kastle received the Ph.D. degree at Johns Hopkins University in 1888. Earlier he had worked as a chemist with the U.S. Public Health Service. He was a man of great energy and sustained interested in research. He was very productive at research; the first decennial index of Chemical Abstracts lists twenty-six papers and joint papers by him. In 1905 he left the University to join the West Virginia University faculty. In 1912 he returned to the University to occupy the position of Director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. He died in 1916. Kastle Hall on the University campus, which housed the Department of Chemistry from 1910 to 1963, was named in his honor.

In 1906, Dr. Franklin E. Tuttle (1864-1950) Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University was employed as Head of the Chemistry Department in the University of Kentucky. He held this position until he retired in 1934 at the age of seventy. Dr. Tuttle was a graduate of Amherst and received the Ph.D. degree at the University of Gottingen in Germany in 1893. He returned to this country as an assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University and rose through the ranks to that of full professor in 1904. Two years rater he came to Kentucky.

He was a fine gentleman, a dedicated, talented teacher and an able administrator. Under his leadership the Department made steady progress.

Dr. Ralph Nelson Maxson (1879-1943) came to the Department also in 1906 and remained until his death. He received the Ph.D. degree at Yale University in 1905 and was employed on the faculty of Rhode Island State College before coming to Kentucky. Dr. Maxson was Head of the Department from 1934 to 1942.

The faculty in chemistry was enlarged in 1908 by the employing of Dr. Lloyd C. Daniels (1883-1948) as an assistant professor. He held this position until 1917, resigning from it to enter the Armed Services in World War I.

During the first four decades of the twentieth century numerous staff members served at the instructorship or assistant professorship levels for varying intervals of time. They contributed generously of their talents, time and effort to their work. Their contributions were legion and their impact on the Department was noteworthy. One person out of this group remained until his retirement in 1956 at seventy years of age; this was Mr. John R. Mitchell who came to the faculty as an instructor in 1915. Throughout his career at Kentucky, Dr. Mitchell continually carried a very heavy teaching load as well as the responsibility for preparations for numerous lecture demonstrations and for supervising much of the laboratory work in general chemistry. He was completely faithful and thoroughly dedicated. He maintained personal and professional high standards for his students and for himself as well.

Mr. Mitchell held the B.S. degree from Gettysburg College and did part-time graduate work while teaching at Michigan State College for several years. His responsibility at Kentucky was in the program in freshman chemistry. From 1927 to 1942, he was Director of General Chemistry.

Dr. M. H. Bedford was employed as Assistant Professor of Chemistry In 1913. He had received the Ph.D. degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1905 and had served at the universities of Maine, Illinois and Virginia before coming to Kentucky. He taught physical chemistry for many years and published several research papers in this area.

The years of 1919 and 1920 brought to the faculty of the Department two young chemists who were to remain at the University of Kentucky for many years. Professor O.J. Stewart, an analytical chemist, who later (1939) was awarded the Ph.D. degree at Harvard University and Dr. Charles Barkenbus, who in 1920 had received the Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Yale University. Professor Barkenbus, an organic chemist, was always rated very high especially by pre-medical students and was considered by students generally to be one of the best lecturers on the campus. Both of these men were research oriented and both published several papers reporting the results of their work and that of students working with them in their programs. They added much to the development of the Department.

Even with the completion of the new building, which is the north section of what is now Kastle Hall, it was not possible to vacate all of the space in the old chemistry building. The general chemistry laboratories were moved to the new quarters, and a large lecture room seating 220 students as well as space for offices were provided there.

In 1912, Dr. Tuttle, then Head of the Chemistry Department, appealed to President McVey for funds to enlarge the chemistry building, but no additional funds were forthcoming. The student load, consisting primarily of those enrolled in chemistry as a service course, was becoming increasingly heavy. Especially was there a larger number of enrollees in the agricultural analysis course.

In 1932, Dr. Tuttle wrote Dean Paul P. Boyd of the College of Arts and Sciences that "for thirteen years the work (in chemistry) has been divided between two buildings". He mentioned the consequent division of interest, difficulty in transporting back and forth equipment needed for use in both places, and the resultant general disruptive influence which prevailed. Under the pressure of urgent need an architectural firm from the Northeast was employed to prepare plans for an addition to Kastle Hall. The plans were prepared quite independently with little advice being sought from the departmental faculty. Although then far from completed, the new addition was occupied at the opening of the second semester of the 1925-26 academic year. Actual completion was not accomplished until 1945 when some of the rooms were plastered and others were painted for the first time. This building provided a total of 45,000 square feet of space and made possible bringing all of the departmental activities to one location. Under administrative pressure it became necessary to share a portion of the unit by assigning Rooms 9, 10 and 11 in the basement to the Bacteriology Department to be used "for the next two years by which time bacteriology will be settled in other quarters". A decade later bacteriology moved to the Biological Sciences building.

Several graduates of the University of Kentucky chemical curriculum registered at other universities to obtain training toward graduate degrees; some of them went into chemical engineering (several enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The departmental faculty saw the need for a strong undergraduate course here which would both prepare the student to enter an industrial position or equip him for graduate work elsewhere. Accordingly, after some persuasion, a program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Industrial Chemistry was introduced. The first students received this degree in 1913.

The program in Industrial Chemistry was more broad and more intensive than that for chemistry majors. It included training in elementary chemical engineering (without laboratory), studies of unit processes, and a course in chemical calculations together with classes in public speaking and report writing. The establishment of a department of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering brought about termination of this program with the granting of the last four degrees in 1954.

As the University proceeded to prepare many students to enter medical schools it became evident that many or in fact most of the students in the pre-medical program were planning to complete a bachelor's degree before entering medical school. Representatives of the Medical Training Committee on Curriculum expressed the desire to have their students especially well prepared in chemistry. Considerable training in chemistry, but without the technical requirements and advanced mathematics which is needed for the major chemistry course was required.

In 1949 the curriculum in chemistry leading to the A.B. degree with a major in chemistry was established. This program endured for nearly twenty years, but was abandoned with its last graduates in 1970. The program has much merit but the glaring weakness was the inevitable fact that some students who were unable to enter medical school or who were dropped from the medical course used the A.B. degree to "graduate with a major in chemistry". Obviously they were not as well prepared as the regular B.S. majors. The A.B. degree was not recognized by the American Chemical Society.

Graduate work leading to a master's degree was begun at the University of Kentucky with the opening of the 1894-95 academic year. Mr. Paul I. Murrill registered In September 1895 for a graduate program in chemistry and was awarded the master's degree in 1896. This program was continued with few students enrolled at any time until 1946 when a complete graduate program leading to the Ph.D. degree was inaugurated. Training in research methods constituted a considerable portion of the earlier master's program with additional studies of special problems through individual assignments and personal conferences with the professors. One hundred one M.S. degrees were awarded in the Department of Chemistry over the half century from 1896 to 1946.

World War I brought a period with numerous difficulties for the Department. Chemicals and equipment were difficult to obtain both because of shortage of general supply and delivery problems and also because of lack of funds to meet advancing costs. Many of the students and some of the younger faculty members left to join the Armed Forces. After a substantial recovery during the twenties and with increased space provided by the addition of the building which became available in 1926, the Department moved forward only to be halted in its progress again by the Great Depression beginning in 1930.

During the decade of the thirties student enrollments increased partially because there were few jobs available in industry. Funds for equipment and for salaries at the University were very limited. On one or two occasions it was necessary to omit monthly salary payments to faculty members and on several occasions salary checks for personnel throughout the University were delayed.

Several instructors and assistant professors were employed by the Department through these times who worked tirelessly at low incomes for several years without increases in pay or changes in rank. Faculty efforts were devoted primarily to teaching; there was little time for research. However, several graduate students completed research which was accepted toward master's degrees.

The Department had become well known and favorably regarded for the quality of its undergraduate chemistry course. Administrators at M.I.T. stated that "a recommendation from Dr. Tuttle is all that is needed to insure a Kentucky student's acceptance" for graduate study there. Bachelor's degree graduates numbered from 4 to 27 each year during this period.

In 1934, Dr. Tuttle reached seventy years of age. This was the age for mandatory retirement. His breadth of training and experience in chemistry, his stoic tenacity, his sense of fairness and his ability to judge men had brought him and the Department most creditably through many difficulties. Dr. Ralph N. Maxson was appointed to succeed Dr. Tuttle as department head on September 1, 1934.

Dr. Ralph N. Maxson who was mentioned earlier had been on the Kentucky faculty since 1906. He came to the University from Rhode Island State College. The depression years through which he served as department head constituted a very difficult period. By 1942, Dr. Maxson felt that he had borne the administrative responsibilities long enough so he resigned from the headship to devote full time to teaching and research.

In an attempt to make definite plans to upgrade the Department with the hope of bringing it to a status such that it might become accredited by the American Chemical Society, Dr. B.S. Hopkins, Professor of Chemistry and Head of the Division of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Illinois was invited to make a thorough departmental inspection. In early 1942 Dr. Hopkins spent several days in the Department. His final report recommended certain changes in personnel and in salaries, revisions of courses and curricula, and the purchase of additional equipment, all of which required additional funds. The funds needed were allotted by the University Administration.

Dr. Laurence L. Quill, Professor of Chemistry and Director of General Chemistry at Ohio State University was employed as department head to begin on September 1, 1942. Dr. Quill and the other departmental faculty members set about to implement the suggestions made by Dr. Hopkins. Despite the impediments created by World War II, under Dr. Quill's dynamic, capable and experienced leadership, the renovation of Kastle Hall, and other departmental projects were begun. In addition, the Department began to look more definitely toward future needs. Progress was slow because many students and faculty members were drawn into World War II. In addition, the Department was called upon to assist in the college training program for members of the Armed Forces.

Early in the fall of 1944, Dr. Quill reported to the administration that he had been offered the headship of the Chemistry Department at Michigan State College. He submitted his resignation at Kentucky effective December 31. Although in the position at Kentucky only a short time, Dr. Quill's personality, energy, and organizing ability provided impetus and direction constituting noteworthy contributions to the department's development.

Dr. Lyle R. Dawson, Research Chemist and Group leader on the Manhattan (atomic bomb) Project at the University of Chicago was appointed to succeed Dr. Quill on January 1, 1945. He occupied this position for more than twenty years.

Dr. Dawson held the master's degree from the University of Illinois and the Ph.D. degree (1935) from the University of Iowa. He had been employed in college and university positions in Louisiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin and had been a research chemist and supervisor with the Universal Atlas Cement Company at Gary, Indiana. In 1943 he became a group leader on the Atomic Bomb Project.

The Department was strongly committed to developing itself so that its program would be accredited by the American Chemical Society. It had been inspected recently but approval had not followed. The American Chemical Society Committee on Accreditation insisted that the program for majors was too concentrated and too narrow in scope. Its report suggested that the offering be broadened to include more courses in biological sciences and in the humanities and social studies with several options. The new program which was prepared satisfied these requirements and added training in report writing and in public speaking.

Faculty teaching loads were still quite excessive; some professors were carrying more than twenty contact hours per week. Research activity was lagging largely because of the pressure of teaching requirements and the scarcity of graduate students. In 1944-45 there were only two graduate students both of whom were working towards master's degrees. Faculty salaries were higher than formerly but still were below the desired equitable levels. Concentrated efforts resulted in bringing the average teaching load to about twelve contact hours per week. Members of the Armed Services began to return and the number of graduate students in attendance and potentially available increased markedly. Several new young faculty members were employed.

The decision was made to build a new chemistry building in the near future. This procedure was approved by President H. L. Donovan and, with the prospect of a new building, preliminary steps were taken toward establishing a complete graduate program leading to the Ph.D. degree. At this point, in February 1946, the President of the University and the faculty of the Department invited the American Chemical Society to send an Associate to inspect the program and facilities.

Dean S.C. Lind of the University of Minnesota came early in March, 1946 as the representative of the Society for a full and complete inspection of all aspects of the work of the Department.

As a result of this visit, the President of the University, Dr. H. L. Donovan, received notice under the date of April 26, 1946 that the Chemistry Department had been placed on the American Chemical Society's accredited list.

Concomitant with achieving accreditation of the undergraduate program, a committee composed of one faculty member from each departmental division as well as the entire faculty acting as a committee of the whole, set about to construct a complete graduate program. This was to be designed to lead to M. S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry. An attempt was made to establish degree requirements which compared favorably with those in other good universities. It was borne in mind, however, that many graduate students entering the University of Kentucky, although intellectually very capable, might not have quite as strong a background of training as would be desirable. Accordingly, there were developed "principles" courses for beginning graduate students in each of the four principal divisions of chemistry. Through these courses, hopefully, students would become prepared for graduate work of good calibre. These courses were used with suitable modifications for seventeen years. Primarily because of them, two years were needed for completion of the requirements for the master's degree. Degree holders, however, were quite well trained for appropriate positions in industry.

Additional well trained and to some extent experienced faculty members were employed to assist in offering new graduate courses and in supervising research. Courses which had been used for graduate credit, conducted on a conference basis, were abolished completely.

The new program was launched in September 1946. The first graduates who finished in 1949 were two men (M. Golben and W. M. Keely) receiving doctor's degrees with majors in physical chemistry. One of these (Michael Golben) was a Phi Beta Kappa member who held two bachelor's degrees from Cornell University, one in chemistry and one in chemical engineering. Their research was supervised by Dr. Dawson. The numbers of graduate degrees granted during the succeeding two-decades are shown below.


Graduate Degrees In Chemistry

Year M.S. Ph.D. Total
1949 12 2 14
1950 17 1 18
1951 7 1 8
1952 6 4 10
1953 2 2 4
1954 3 8 11
1955 9 2 11
1956 5 0 5
1957 4 3 7
1958 5 4 9
1959 5 8 13
1960 1 8 9
1961 9 4 17
1962 4 2 6
1963 2 0 2
1964 6 2 8
1965 2 2 4
1966 9 1 10
1967 8 6 14
1968 1 8 9
1969 1 13 14
Total 118 81 199


Upon the employment of Dr. Dawson as department head in 1945 it had been agreed that chemistry should be provided additional space and facilities in the near future. Some considerations led to the conclusion that these new facilities should be in the form of a new building. A letter from President H.L. Donovan placed the responsibility for general planning of the building upon the Department and asserted that the final architectural plans would not be approved by the University Administration "until they were approved by the Department of Chemistry". It was specified, however, that the new structure should house the departments of both chemistry and physics.

The Lexington architectural firm, Brock and Johnson, was employed, although the firm was without experience in planning facilities for chemistry or physics. In the Department much time and effort went toward preparing suitable rough plans with specified dimensions which would be transformed into architectural products. Trips were made to several other universities by the department heads and the architects to study their facilities and additional pertinent information was obtained from various other commercial and educational sources. With the architectural plans complete, construction of the building was given "top" priority, a position it retained without action for several years while other less expensive units fared somewhat better.

By 1955 and 1956 active interest in a Chemistry-Physics building was revived again. Kastle Hall was greatly overcrowded. Well qualified students were experiencing difficulty finding spaces in chemistry classes. In some classes in general chemistry, two students were assigned to each laboratory desk drawer. In organic chemistry the laboratory desks were divided by partitions in such a way as to accommodate twice as many students. However, it became apparent that the architectural plans at hand for the new building were quite inadequate. The rate of growth of the university enrollment had been underestimated. Recent commercial developments had produced new materials such as Pyrex glass piping and solid plastic for furniture, which were desirable for use in the new building. Accordingly, it was decided that another set of plans for using more modern materials and providing more adequately for the projected needs should be prepared. The administration requested that the new plans provide for the needs in chemistry under a total university enrollment of 12,500 students. Today (1970) with an on-campus university enrollment of more than 16,000 students and with about 80 graduate students in chemistry, the building provides adequate space and facilities in most areas.

New plans were prepared and a 5.6 million dollar contract for constructing the building was awarded the Wittenberg Engineering and Construction Company of Louisville, Kentucky. Work on the site was begun on November 11, 1960. The first classes were held in the new Chemistry-Physics building in February 1963. Dedication ceremonies were held on April 26, 1963 with Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, Chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission as the speaker.

Kastle Hall included a total area of about 45,000 square feet. The total gross area for the new building is approximately 244,000 square feet with 100,000 square feet devoted to physics and 144,000 for use by the chemistry department. A reasonably good balance among lecture rooms, recitation rooms, instructional laboratories, research laboratories, and offices was achieved. The unit is completely air-conditioned.

The modern instructional laboratories provide desk space for 1,920 students in general chemistry, 318 in analytical, 378 in organic and 324 in physical chemistry. All lecture rooms and laboratories are served by closed circuit television.

A centrally located library staffed with a full-time trained librarian and an assistant together with some student helpers serves both the chemistry and physics departments. Rated by some persons as one of the best in the South, the chemistry library was developed primarily by Professor Charles Barkenbus, who was chairman of the departmental library committee for many years. His consistent attention to details and effective use of funds resulted in the acquisition of the principal research reference works in good balance among the various divisions of chemistry. A system of locks and hallway gates makes it possible to keep the library open for student use at night while the remainder of the building is closed.

In 1944, Mr. Keene Adams was employed as the first storekeeper in the Chemistry Department. The work was extremely demanding in physical requirements and, indeed, too strenuous for an older man like Mr. Adams. In 1946 he transferred to the Department of Electrical Engineering. Mr. Adams' service with the Department was marked by his fine spirit of cooperation at all times. Upon his departure two new storekeepers were employed. The stockroom staff now totals five members. Most of the men who have been employed in these positions have rendered excellent service. But outstanding among these is the present chief storekeeper, Mr. H. L. Grimes, who was employed in 1955. His ability to work smoothly and effectively with many persons of varying dispositions, together with his complete honesty, energy and cooperativeness make him ideally suited for this position.

More recently, as the Department has grown, the need for service personnel for aid in both the academic and the research areas has become increasingly great. In addition to the storekeepers, there are now two glassblowers, an e1ectronlcs specialist and two analysts.

Mr. Robert Boyer was employed as the first Laboratory Manager in 1951, which position he filled until 1965. Mr. Boyer held the master's degree in chemistry and had several years of industrial research experience. His duties included the supervision over stores and facilities, storekeepers and service personnel as well as responsibility for all purchasing and receiving. Mr. Boyer's patience and ability to organize, together with his loyalty and understanding of the organization, made his service In the Department outstanding. It was a distinct loss to chemistry when he transferred to another area of the University.

Dr. Jacob R. Meadow (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins, 1933) was employed in February 1945 as Director of General Chemistry. He came from the headship of the chemistry department at Southwestern College at Memphis, Tennessee. Earlier he had been an industrial research chemist and supervisor with the DuPont Company and during World War II he was with the Socony Vacuum Oil Company.

Failing grades in the general chemistry courses here had been very numerous - as many as 50% to 55% in some classes. Through Dr. Meadow's efforts it was learned that most students whose scores fell in the lowest twenty-five percent on the University entrance test, failed in the course. It became apparent that they were actually receiving failing grades largely because of poor preparation in mathematics and in English. An agreement was reached with the colleges in the University for whom chemistry is a type of "service" course, that students in the lowest 25 percent on the university entrance tests or on the American College Tests would not be permitted to register directly in chemistry. If they took courses in English and/or mathematics and made grades of "B" or better (or occasionally "C") they were then admitted to courses in general chemistry. In 1956 with the pressures of larger enrollments and lack of space the exclusion limit was raised to the fortieth percentile. It was returned to the twenty-fifth percentile when the Department moved to the building it occupies now.

Dr. Meadow's service in teaching and supervising in the general chemistry program and similar service by other professors was very effective in implementing the proposed system.

At various times Dr. Meadow served well as Acting Head of the Department for short periods in the absence of the department head. In 1958 he was appointed Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; however, he continued to devote one-half of his time to teaching and research. The position of Director of General Chemistry was filled by the appointment of Dr. Ellis V. Brown. In 1965, Dr. Meadow returned to full-time teaching and research.

Dr. Brown was head of the department of chemistry at Seaton Hall University. He received the Ph.D. degree at Iowa State University in organic chemistry in 1936, and had taught at Fordham University for a few years. During a ten-year period he was a research chemist with the Pfizer Company in New York. Dr. Brown was strongly research oriented. In 1969 he returned to full-time research and teaching and his position was occupied by Dr. William F. Wagner (Ph.D., Illinois, 1947).

Throughout the history of the Department its principal administrative officer had been the head of the Department. In 1963 this title was changed to departmental "chairman" and the authority and responsibility were diffused throughout the departmental faculty. Similar changes occurred in all departments throughout the university. Formal committees were established (there has been the equivalent of committee action on all important matters) and prolonged faculty meetings were held to acquaint all faculty members holding the rank of assistant professor or above with the programs and polices of the organization.

Dr. William F. Wagner, a staff member since 1949 was appointed departmental chairman in 1965 for a period of four years. At the end of one year (1966) Dr. Wagner resigned from the chairmanship. However, because of the search committee's inability to find a suitable replacement he continued to serve for an additional two years. He was succeeded in 1968 by Dr. Robert W. Kiser (Ph.D., Purdue University, 1958). In 1969, Dr. Wagner became Director of General Chemistry.

In addition, with the assumption of the chairmanship by Dr. Wagner, a position of "Assistant Chairman" was established. It was filled by Dr. E.M. Hammaker (Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1940) who has been a faculty member since 1951. This action did much to relieve the work load of the chairman.

The employment in 1965 of a laboratory supervisor in general chemistry (now there are two of them) achieved organization and consolidation which was required because of the rapid increase in the number of students. To be sure the development of community colleges under the university system throughout the state did much to relieve enrollment pressures of freshmen and sophomores on the main campus.

One of the principal functions of a department in a university is to do research in order to clarify, enlarge and extend knowledge in the field. The Department recognized fully this function and set about the plan for an active research program which hopefully would develop on a sound basis. The first research program in the Department and one of the first on the campus operating under a contract was with the U.S. Army Signal Corps. This program under the direct supervision of Dr. L.R. Dawson, department head, began July 1, 1946 and was in operation for ten years.

Other contracts appearing as the years passed provided funds which faculty members could use for salaries of graduate research students and for budgets which made possible the purchase of research equipment. More than seventy Ph.D. degrees and a similar number of master's degrees have been earned through these programs.

In 1946 the Department began participation in an extensive research program on tobacco and in 1969 some faculty members were among the group of chemists designated to study rock samples brought from the moon. During the past year the members of the departmental faculty have published forty research papers.

Currently (1969-70) there are twenty-two faculty members and twelve service personnel, with more than eighty graduate students. The Department, with Dr. R.W. Kiser in his second year as Chairman, operates essentially under the committee system. The average teaching load is about six contact hours per week for each professor. Numerous research projects are in progress and the departmental faculty also contributes fully its share of general university administrative service.

With a well-trained and experienced faculty, adequate funds for teaching and research, reasonable teaching loads and a genuine spirit of responsibility and cooperation, the Department looks towards the future with anticipation and with confidence.



by Dr. Lyle Dawson, 1973 (data from later years collected by Jamie Robida and added by Dr. Robert B. Grossman)
Personnel 1964 1973 2003
Professors 8 11 13
Associate Professors 4 6 10
Assistant Professors 5 6 3
Visiting Professor 1 0 0
Total professorial staff 18 23 26
Supporting Staff 13 19 19
Postdoctoral Scholars 0 14 20


Total Faculty since 1974

Academic Year  Number of Faculty
1974-1975 20
1975-1976 20
1976-1977 24
1977-1978 26
1978-1979 25
1979-1980 25
1980-1981 25
1981-1982 24
1982-1983 24
1983-1984 22
1984-1985 22
1985-1986 21
1986-1987 22
1987-1988 24
1988-1989 26
1989-1990 27
1990-1991 26
1991-1992 26
1992-1993 24
1993-1994 22
1994-1995 23
1995-1996 24
1996-1997 25
1997-1998 24
1998-1999 26
1999-2000 26
2000-2001 24
2001-2002 24
2002-2003 26




Head 1963-1965 L.R. Dawson

Chairman 1965-1968 W.F. Wagner 
  1968-1972 R.W. Kiser
  1972-?? W.D. Ehmann

Assistant Chairman 1965-?? E.M. Hammaker

Director of Freshman Chemistry 1963-1969  E.V. Brown
  1969-1973  W.F. Wagner
  1974-??  D.E. Sands


Cumulative Examination System
The cumulative examination system was initiated in the Fall of 1967 and has been in use since that time as the written portion of the qualifying examination for the Ph. D. degree. Under this system seven two-hour examinations are given during each academic year. Each division (analytical, inorganic, organic, radio, physical) offers an examination at the same time and the student takes one of these. A student may take up to twenty-one examinations during his first three years of graduate study, of which he must pass eight to qualify. After the required number of written examinations is passed the student takes the oral part of the qualifying examination.

Postdoctoral Program
In November of 1972 the Department of Chemistry adopted a formal postdoctoral program. This program details the basic philosophy of the program, the types of postdoctoral scholars, the conditions of appointment, the criteria for selection, the work assignments, et cetera. The number of postdoctoral scholars in the program has been as follows:


1966 4
1967 5
1968 10
1969 14
1970 21
1971  18
1972 14
1973 14


Graduate Degrees In Chemistry

Year M.S. (men) M.S. (women) Total M.S. Ph.D. (men) Ph.D. (women) Total Ph.D. Total degrees
1974-75 2 4 6 5 0 5 11
1975-76 3 0 3 3 1 4 7
1976-77 5 4 9 2 2 4 13
1977-78 4 1 5 4 0 4 9
1978-79 9 2 11 1 0 1 12
1979-80 6 2 8 2 0 2 10
1980-81 2 3 5 4 0 4 9
1981-82 3 2 5 3 0 3 8
1982-83 7 0 7 5 1 6 13
1983-84 1 2 3 1 2 3 6
1984-85 4 3 7 4 0 4 11
1985-86 2 1 3 1 1 2 5
1986-87 7 2 9 2 2 4 13
1987-88 3 1 4 5 2 7 11
1988-89 3 2 5 4 0 4 9
1989-90 1 2 3 5 2 7 10
1990-91 3 3 6 5 1 6 12
1991-92 1 1 2 3 5 8 10
1992-93 2 1 3 6 1 7 10
1993-94 5 1 6 12 3 15 21
1994-95 3 4 7 8 3 11 18
1995-96 2 3 5 7 4 11 16
1996-97 4 2 6 11 1 12 18
1997-98 4 0 4 4 4 8 12
1998-99 7 3 10 3 1 4 14
1999-00 3 2 5 4 4 8 13
2000-01 2 1 3 7 1 8 11
2001-02 4 2 6 11 2 13 19
Totals 102 54 156 132 43 175 331


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