By Alexis T. Bell, Dean

The fall has seen a great deal of activity in the College of Chemistry. During the short span of ten days in October lectures were presented by three prominent figures in the field of chemistry and related sciences. Prof. John Polanyi of the University of Toronto, a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986 with Yuan Lee and Dudley Hershbach, presented the Hitchcock Lectures - the first entitled "Photochemistry in an Ordered Universe" and the second, "The Responsibility of the Scientist in an Age of Science." Glenn Seaborg, also a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, presented the Lewis Lecture on the subject of "Ten New Elements and Ten Presidents." He was followed by Prof. Carl Sagan of Cornell University, who delivered the Pimentel Lecture on "Organic Chemistry in the Outer Solar System: Clues to the Origin of Life." Prof. Sagan's lecture was presented as part of the dedication of Pimentel Hall, which celebrated the life and accomplishments of our late Chemistry Professor George Pimentel.

 Tan Hall continues to grow before our eyes. The framework for the two basement levels and the first two floors are complete, and workmen are currently getting ready to pour the third floor. While problems encountered during excavation and recent bad weather have added about two-and-a-half months to the construction schedule, there is the expectation that some of the lost time will be made up in the future. If all goes well we should gain occupancy in spring of 1996. Fund raising for the completion of the Tan Hall project is also making good progress. We have raised approximately 95% of the $ 1.7 million needed to qualify us for the $600,000 challenge grant offered to the College by The Kresge Foundation. We still have until the end of March to meet, and I hope exceed, the challenge. Any additional funds raised above the goal will be used to equip the building. In particular, these funds will be used towards additional computers in the new Instructional Computing Facility and to install modern audio-visual equipment in the lecture hall on the plaza level of Tan Hall.

 The College also received good news on another front. The NSF has awarded the College of Chemistry a $1.75 million Academic Research Infrastructure Grant for the renovation of laboratories used for research in bioorganic and bioinorganic chemistry and biochemical engineering. Together with $2.65 million in campus and private funds, this will mean that a large number of laboratories on the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh floors of Latimer can be modernized. The College hopes that this can be the first phase of progressive renovations of Latimer Hall, which has seen relatively little work done on it since it was completed in 1964.

 Changes are also occurring at the systemwide level. On January 20, President Jack W. Peltason announced that he would retire at the end of his third year, on October 1. The period of Peltason's presidency has been one of the most difficult in the 126-year history of the University. It has had to accept some $433 million in budget cuts and has seen a 13% reduction in its workforce. The increasing demand by students wishing to receive an education within the University of California System has added further strain. In announcing his retirement, President Peltason said that he drew encouragement from Governor Wilson's recent commitment to provide modest budget increases for public higher education over the next four years.

 The declining State support of the campus during the last four years, together with the steady rise in enrollments in lower division chemistry courses, have made it increasingly difficult for the College to maintain its educational program. While the College will do everything in its power to maintain access to chemistry courses, it will be mindful of the tradeoffs that this entails, particularly where the graduate program is concerned. In this context it is important that the faculty and alumni of the College inform the populace of California about the importance of the educational and research activities conducted in the College.

 Having talked about some of the hardships facing the University and the College, I would like to close with a bit of exciting good news. Brad Moore, Angy Stacy and Susan Kegley have recently learned that they will receive a three-year grant of $1.5 million from the NSF for the development of novel approaches to teaching introductory chemistry. The enthusiasm this project has inspired is wonderful to see, and I am confident that these efforts will lead to new ways of inspiring young people to study the chemical sciences.


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