Alumni News, Spring 1999

by Steve Sciamanna, Ph.D., '86, ChE

  ear Fellow Alumni:

I hope 1998 was a successful year for you and expect 1999 will be even better. This year our Alumni Steering Team has been infused with the creative energies of two new members. I would like to welcome and thank Scott Clarke, B.S. '95, ChE and Michael Yang, B.S. '92, ChE and Chem for joining the team.

After some further word-smithing, our mission statement changed slightly from the last time I reported to you. We simplified it to read:

"The mission of the Alumni Association is to build relationships between and among the alumni and the College and to develop support for the College."

Our intention is to use this statement as a guide for all future activities supported by the Alumni Association. One such idea for an activity we tested against our mission statement was to sponsor a cross (technical) discipline Entrepreneur Forum. Initially we would kick off the program drawing on the experiences of College alumni and faculty. If successful, our vision is to expand the program to include experiences from other technical disciplines and business. The idea is in its infancy stage and any thoughts you might have would be most welcome. Stay tuned.

Attending the Lewis luncheon were Prof. Leo Brewer (Ph.D., '43), Marjorie Evans (Ph.D. '45), David Altman (Ph.D. '43), George Stenmark (B.S. '37), Reza Ronay (B.A. '44), Vic Gunther (B.S. '42), and Jim Leonard (B.S. '44).

To bring you up-to-date on some past activities:

On August 19, 1998, I addressed the incoming College students who attended the New Student Orientation. For the most part they had that deer-in-the-headlight look about them. However, they all seemed ready for the E-ticket ride.

The Cal Homecoming, Reunion & Parents' Weekend was September 24 - 27, 1998. Chemical Engineering Professor Jay Keasling gave a lecture "Building Better Bugs for the Environment." It was a very interesting lecture!

The Annual Freshman Seminar was on November 4, 1998, and presentations were given by Alumni Tom Delfino (M.S. ChE '81), Fred Lam (B.S. ChE '83), and Mary Singleton (M.S. Chem '60). The presentations were well received, but in typical freshman fashion, few questions were asked.

Tom Delfino, Fred Lam and Mary Singleton at the Annual Freshman Seminar in November.

The AIChE Alumni Reception was held in Miami, FL on November 17, 1998. The Chemical Engineering Department hosted this reception to celebrate Professor Morton M. Denn receiving the 1998 Warren K. Lewis Award for contributions to Chemical Engineering Education and the AIChE Symposium in honor of the 70th birthday of Professor John M. Prausnitz. Over 350 people attended the reception. Curt Munson estimated that 25 percent of the attendees were alumni.

The annual "Alumni of the G. N. Lewis Era" luncheon was held on Thursday, November 19, 1998. There was a fine turnout (about 55) with much reminiscing. Professor Rollie Myers spoke on "Teaching Chemistry at U.C. Berkeley: How It Used to Be," and Professor Peter K. Vollhardt then spoke on "...And As We Do it Now, Organically." Each showed slides of "then" and "now." Bud Blue, a key member of that group, commented that the talks were very good, "short and to the point." Bud also mentioned that the G. N. Lewis Era Group is at about 20 percent of their goal towards financing a Faculty Chair for the College. Way to Go!

Haviland Thompson (B.S. '41), Ray Damsky (B.S. '41) and Paul Thompson (B.S. '41) applauding Prof. Vollhardt's talk at the Lewis Luncheon.

The organizers for our newly formed "Free Radicals Alumni" group had their kick-off meeting on December 9, 1998. This group includes alumni from the years 1964-79. Important items were discussed, such as design for a logo (six good ideas were generated) and the venue for an annual event. We are tentatively planning a brunch before a football game sometime next fall.

Coming up this spring will be the third annual "Cupola Era Alumni" luncheon, to be held on Saturday, March 13, in the Heyns Room at The Faculty Club. This group includes alumni from the years 1946 - 64. A separate invitation letter has recently been sent out. Professor Henry Rapoport will be presenting the luncheon talk on something near and dear to his heart and to the hearts of members of the Cupola Era Group. Come and find out more!

Cal Day will be held on April 17,1999, and Professor Angy Stacy will be giving her "Magic of Chemistry" presentation. Professor Herb Strauss will have a discussion for prospective students and their parents. If you and your family are near campus on Cal Day, it is worth your time. There are many interesting activities campus-wide for one and all to see and do.

Commencement will be on Sunday, May 23. The speaker will be Paul Anderson, Vice President of DuPont Life Sciences and past president of the ACS.

Lewis Luncheon attendees Gus Dorough (B.S. '43, Ph.D. '47), Norman Bonner (B.S. '42) and Henry Koopman (B.S. '41).

The prime intent of our Alumni Association, as noted in our Mission Statement, is "to build relationships between and among the alumni and the College." As always, we encourage you to stop by and visit the college when you are in the area. Camille Olufson can help you with making faculty contacts, facility tours, etc. Contact Camille at (510) 643-7379 or by email: .

Our co-chair Fred Lam, the rest of the Steering Team and I look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events. Stay in touch. My e-mail address and Fred can be contacted at

Steven F. Sciamanna, Ph.D. '86, ChE