Issue Date: January 22, 2007
Charles Lathrop Parsons Award
Sponsored by ACS
Service to the community takes on many forms, as the 2007 awardee for the Charles Lathrop Parsons Award, S. Allen Heininger, demonstrates.
Heininger, 81, has served his community as an alderman and a police commissioner, served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II, helped create the Council for Chemical Research, served on the board of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and acted as president of the Industrial Research Institute. Currently, he is a trustee of the Science Center in St. Louis and an active church participant. "If I happen to have some capability and someone's foolish enough to think they'd like to have me involved, I generally tend to say 'yes,' " Heininger says.
At the American Chemical Society, Heininger contributed greatly, not only as ACS president but also during his nine years on the Budget & Finance Committee and 15 years on the Pension & Investment Committee. "My interest in chemistry and my concern for the field of chemistry and the advancement of it led me into active service for ACS," he says.
"It's quite an honor, [as I realize] when I go back and look at some of the prior recipients," says Heininger about receiving the Parsons Award. "I wonder about the wisdom of ACS in having picked me for it."
On a more serious note, Heininger explains that service to others is important to him. "Community service is an absolutely critical concept, commensurate with each individual's personal skills and knowledge," he says. "Human beings are most effective when we not only satisfy our own needs and desires but also serve others."
As part of his service to the field of chemistry, Heininger is widely acknowledged as the person most responsible for the creation of the ACS Scholars Program.
While serving as ACS president in 1991, Heininger realized that the society was lacking programs to attract underrepresented minorities into chemistry, particularly those from African American, Hispanic, and American Indian communities. He felt that for chemistry to succeed, this underserved potential talent base needed to be encouraged into the field. In 1994, Heininger convinced the ACS Board of Directors to commit an unprecedented $5 million to a program designed to support and enhance the number of underrepresented minority students aspiring to become chemical scientists. Thus, the ACS Scholars Program was born.
Since the program's inception in 1995, ACS has awarded scholarships to more than 1,600 students who meet academic requirements and demonstrate financial need. To date, the program reports an impressive 80% retention rate.
Heininger also convinced the ACS Board to establish a matching gift program, in addition to the $5 million commitment, to which corporations and individuals could contribute. Heininger led the matching program with his own personal gift.
Heininger received an A.B. in chemistry from Oberlin College in 1948 and a D.Sc. in organic chemistry from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1952. He joined Monsanto as a bench chemist in 1952, acquiring more than 60 patents in his first few years with the company. In 1958, he became a project manager at the former Organic Chemicals Division's development department in St. Louis. Heininger continued to work his way up Monsanto's management ladder until becoming corporate vice president in 1977. He retired as a member of Monsanto's executive committee in 1990.
The award address will be presented in Chicago on Sunday, March 25, 1:15 PM, at the Sheraton Hotel, Michigan B.
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