We are saddened to report that Professor Emeritus Mark Wicholas passed away on November 20 following a brief battle with cancer. The Chemistry Department rose to national prominence under Mark’s leadership and the department will honor Mark’s legacy later this academic year.
Mark joined the faculty at Western in 1967 and was chair of Chemistry from 1982-2007. Under his leadership, the department submitted a successful Department Development proposal in 2000 to the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the Murdock Charitable Trust. This was a significant and critical achievement in the evolution of the department as a national model among primarily undergraduate institutions for the engagement of students in research.
When Mark retired in 2007 an endowed fund was set up in his honor by Chemistry alumni. Earlier this year, Mark made a significant gift to this endowed fund, which will ensure that we have the means to support the development of our students as first-rate researchers now and in the future. We are honored that Mark recognized the department as good shepherds of the legacy he worked diligently to establish.
The Chemistry Department at Western offers courses for students who plan to major Chemistry, Biochemistry and other physical, engineering and life sciences programs. The department offers M.S., B.S., and B.A. degrees in chemistry and biochemistry, approved by the American Chemical Society. Programs of study are designed to emphasize the fundamental principles of chemistry and their application to technological, societal, and industrial problems, to develop scientific reasoning, advanced hands-on laboratory skills, and to prepare students for success in graduate/professional programs, government, and industry.
The Department is recognized as having one of the strongest undergraduate-based research programs in the nation, supported by an average of $1 million in annual external grant funding. Award-winning faculty work closely with students on a variety of important scientific challenges, ranging from medicinal chemistry to solar energy, protein engineering, the development of new aerospace and electronic materials, and many more. Students are immersed in an environment emphasizing strong interdisciplinary scientific preparation and receive hands-on experience with advanced chemical and biochemical methods in state-of-the-art facilities. The program draws top students from across the Washington and the country.
Western consistently ranks among the top universities in the West. Located in Bellingham, WA, the campus overlooks Puget Sound and the beautiful San Juan Islands, and is adjacent to the majestic Mt. Baker and the North Cascades.
The Chemistry Department Administrative Office Suite is working toward Gold Status Sustainability Certification.
For more information visit the WWU Sustainability website.