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Department History

An engaging history of the Chemistry Department from its beginnings in the early 1900s to the present, illustrated with many historical photographs, is available on the Department History Page.




"The one-on-one mentoring of students in research is the most important thing we can do in preparing them for future careers in science" - Professor Mark Wicholas

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. 

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