Robert O. (Bob) Hutchins | November 16, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 46 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 46 | p. 50 | Obituaries
Issue Date: November 16, 2009

Robert O. (Bob) Hutchins

Department: ACS News
Keywords: Obituaries, People

Robert O. (Bob) Hutchins, 70, professor emeritus of chemistry at Drexel University, died of cancer on Oct. 9.

Born in Danville, Ill., Hutchins earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1961; an M.A. degree in phytochemistry from California State University, Long Beach, in 1962; and a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from Purdue University under J. Wolinsky in 1967. He then completed a two-year postdoctoral stint with Ernest L. Eliel at Notre Dame University.

Hutchins joined Drexel as an assistant professor in 1968, becoming an associate professor in 1974 and a full professor in 1979. He was named G. S. Sasin Professor of Organic Chemistry and served as chemistry department head for 14 years. He retired in 2008.

Hutchins’ research focused on new hydride reagents for asymmetric reactions and the conformational properties of phosphorus-containing heterocycles. He authored 100 frequently cited scientific papers.

Drexel honored Hutchins with a Research Achievement Award in 1982 and a University Research Scholar Award in 1985. In 1987, he received both the distinguished alumnus award from Cal State and the 26th Research Award of the Philadelphia Section of ACS. He also received a Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award in 1980.

Hutchins was a member of the Philadelphia Organic Chemists’ Club and of ACS, which he joined in 1962. A tribute to Hutchins’ life will be held on Nov. 18 at Drexel’s Paul Peck Alumni Center.

Hutchins is survived by his sons, Owen and Richard; and grandsons, Jacob and William. His wife, MaryGail, predeceased him.


Susan J. Ainsworth writes obituaries. Obituary notices may be sent to and should include a detailed educational and professional history.

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