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Parsons Award To Geri Richmond

by Linda Wang
July 30, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 31

Credit: Dustin Richmond
Geraldine (Geri) Richmond
Credit: Dustin Richmond

Geraldine L. (Geri) Richmond, Richard M. & Patricia H. Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon, Eugene, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Charles Lathrop Parsons Award by the American Chemical Society Board of Directors. The award recognizes outstanding public service by a member of the society and is named after the executive secretary who helped create today’s ACS.

“Professor Richmond has provided service to the chemical community in an enormously broad array of activities, and we are all richer for her contributions,” says W. Carl Lineberger, E. U. Condon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who has served on numerous advisory committees with Richmond.

Richmond is being honored for her advocacy on behalf of higher education, science policy, and women scientists. Her work on the Oregon State Board of Higher Education helped improve higher education in Oregon. And her work as chair of the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee for the Department of Energy has influenced science policy.

But Richmond is perhaps best known for her work with the Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists (COACh), the organization she cofounded in 1997 to support women scientists and engineers through leadership and career development workshops and mentoring opportunities. Richmond is currently working to broaden COACh’s reach internationally (see page 90).

“Professor Richmond has a remarkable record of public service to chemistry while maintaining the highest standards of achievement and productivity in her scientific work,” says her University of Oregon colleague Thomas R. Dyke, professor emeritus of physical chemistry and chemical physics.

Richmond credits the University of Oregon for her success. “I’m fortunate to be at a university that really values this service, and it’s helped me make sure that my research and educational efforts continue while doing this service,” she says.

This is not Richmond’s first ACS national award. In 1996, she received the Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal. In 2005, she was honored with the ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. And in 2011, she received the Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical & Experimental Chemistry of Liquids.

Richmond received a B.S. in chemistry from Kansas State University in 1975 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1980. Her Ph.D. adviser was the late George C. Pimentel, an ACS past-president and the founder of National Chemistry Week.

“All of us as scientists have a responsibility to give back, and I learned that very early on from my mentor, George Pimentel,” Richmond says. “Ever since I was in graduate school, that message has been there, and I’ve had incredible opportunities to be able to give back to the community through service. And it’s been enormously rewarding but also a real learning experience for me on how we can be even more impactful with our actions.”

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