2013 Annual Report

Dear Harvey Mudd Chemists and Friends,

It’s a pleasure to bring you up-to-date on what we’ve been doing over the past year.

In May we graduated eleven chemistry and joint chem-bio majors. In March we sent fourteen students to the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans. In addition to making presentations and cruising the exposition at the meeting, our students were the focus of a reception for all HMC alumni in the area that drew more than seventy attendees.

Our faculty and staff have been busy, too. Kerry Karukstis, the Ray and Mary Ingwersen Professor of Chemistry, finished a three-year term as chair of the faculty.  She delayed her sabbatical by two years to serve the College in this capacity.  Kerry, Jerry Van Hecke, the Donald A. Strauss Professor of Chemistry, and David Vosburg will be on leave the coming year.  While Jerry and Kerry will be local with a wide range of trips planned, David and his family will be in residence in Cambridge, England, where David will be a visiting faculty member.  Just after he left the country, Dave was named a Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar.  The Camile and Henry Dreyfus Foundation names roughly six Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholars from the ranks of faculty at undergraduate colleges each year.  Dreyfus teacher scholars are considered the epitome of teaching and research in the undergraduate sphere. Past recipients in the department of this highly prestigious honor include Bill Daub, Kerry Karukstis, and Bob Cave. Karl Haushalter was selected for the Project Kaleidascope Leadership Institute where he worked on community-based learning in conjunction with his AIDS course. Adam Johnson is fully integrated into the department after his year in Japan. Bob Cave is refreshed from a productive leave and will teach full-time in the department for the first time in nine years. Kathy Van Heuvelen completed a highly successful first year, including impressive synthetic work and characterization of small-molecule models. Lelia Hawkins now has an officially-sanctioned hole in the ceiling of her lab, allowing her to sample the very best of Los Angeles basin air 24/7! Bill Daub completed his first year as Core Curriculum Director and all-around indispensible instructor. Finally, the new Pomona/HMC Hitachi SU-70 Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope is up and running.  Students in the first-year elective HMC Chem 13 Nanostructed Materials synthesized inverse opals and visualized their results in one of the first instructional uses of the instrument.

The College will dedicate the R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning next month.  Sitting where Thomas-Garrett once stood, the new building contains every classroom that is not a laboratory on campus, save one.  This is an amazing, state-of-the-art classroom building with a concert hall, classrooms of almost any conceivable sizes, outdoor roof-top garden classroom, and a café serving Starbucks products!

The Stauffer Challenge has gone very well. This past summer we supported seven Harvey Mudd students for the duration of the ten-week summer research program.  At steady state we will be able to support ten students from this endowed fund each year.

On a personal note, I am beginning my sixth and last year as department chair.  Next fall the new chair, Kerry Karukstis, will update you on the happenings of the department.

We’re working hard at staying connected to you. In addition to this newsletter, we continue our grand experiment with Facebook. If you are a Facebook user, please join the Harvey Mudd College Chemistry Alumni group at www.groups.to/hmcchemistry to get updates on departmental and campus happenings. Also, let us know what is new with you – fill out the form at www.hmc.edu/chemalumupdate to let us know where you are and what you’re doing. We mean this broadly, not just the chemistry in your life!

We’re also doing our best to reach out to prospective students. We have Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr feeds for prospective students available at facebook.com/hmcchem, twitter.com/hmcchem, and hmcchem.tumblr.com, respectively. Feel free to point an interested potential student in our direction!

With warmest regards,
Hal Van Ryswyk