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Partners For Progress & Prosperity

by Marinda Li Wu, Immediate Past President
December 8, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 49

Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Marinda Li Wu, Immediate Past-President, ACS.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

What an exhilarating and rewarding journey it has been these past three years in the American Chemical Society presidential succession! Exhilarating because it has been an honor to be invited to represent ACS during visits to chemistry communities here and overseas ever since I was elected. I greatly appreciate the new friendships and diverse perspectives gained when I traveled to various local sections, international chapters, universities, research institutes, government labs, regional meetings, international conferences, National Historic Chemical Landmarks, ACS on Campus events, and many other places. It has also been immensely rewarding to receive heartfelt appreciation from members worldwide for listening and reaching out to them to get their input.

Last September, I was invited by the Romanian Chemical Society (RCS) and the Romania ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapter to attend an international conference on analytical chemistry in Târgovişte. The meeting was jointly organized by RCS, the ACS Romania chapter, and the Division of Analytical Chemistry of the European Association for Chemical & Molecular Sciences. This partnering resulted in a highly successful international conference attended by scientists from many countries whom I enjoyed meeting. To honor outstanding graduate research, the Romania chapter awarded several ACS student memberships sponsored by Romanian chemists who work in the U.S. Visit if you are interested in gifting an ACS membership to a student in the U.S. or abroad for as little as $26 per undergraduate.

It was also especially touching when the president of RCS later introduced me to a large audience of university students and faculty. I was pleasantly surprised when he quoted from one of my C&EN articles from many years ago. I had highlighted an old Chinese proverb: “Vision without action is only a daydream, but action without vision is a nightmare.”

I have long had a vision about how all of us—whether working in academia, industry, government, small business, or the nonprofit sector, with training in all types of disciplines related to chemistry or science and technology—can and should work together as partners to enhance the global chemistry enterprise. That is the heart of my presidential theme, “Partners for Progress & Prosperity,” which I have shared with chemistry communities worldwide (C&EN, Jan. 7, 2013, page 2).

I was recently inspired by a fascinating roundtable at Stanford University on “The Climate Conversation You Haven’t Heard,” with Lesley Stahl of CBS moderating a panel discussion of experts on global warming and climate change. I came away thinking that informed action and advocacy are needed from those of us with a background in science. I strongly believe that as scientists we also have a social responsibility to help solve global challenges by working together with our legislators and policymakers at all levels—local, regional, and national.

I have worked tirelessly these past three years in the ACS presidential succession, and I feel good about what has been accomplished through partnering with dedicated volunteers, ACS staff, and others. My 2013 national meeting presidential symposia are now available online at in two ACS Symposium Series books. They cover important areas on which I promised to focus: concentrating on members’ needs and interests, collaborating to enhance the global chemistry enterprise, communicating the value and benefits of chemistry to society, and celebrating diversity and inclusivity.

You can use your membership benefit of 25 free downloads from ACS Publications to access the valuable information and perspectives shared in these two books: “Vision 2025: How To Succeed in the Global Chemistry Enterprise” and “Careers, Entrepreneurship, and Diversity: Challenges and Opportunities in the Global Chemistry Enterprise.”

The first book shares perspectives from 10 presidents of chemical societies representing Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas as well as from U.S. thought leaders from academia, industry, government, and small business. The second book should be especially helpful for students, job seekers, and those contemplating career transitions. A third ACS Symposium Series book on “Jobs, Collaborations, and Women Leaders of the Global Chemistry Enterprise” will be published in 2015. It includes fascinating and inspiring chapters by retiring ACS Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Madeleine Jacobs, Priestley Medalist Darleane C. Hoffman, and many others, as well as a report on the supply and demand of chemists and jobs in the U.S.

In closing, I am happy to help raise awareness and promote excellent partnerships and collaborations through a new P3 (Partners for Progress & Prosperity) award. Please encourage nominations demonstrating impact in the following areas: (1) improving the public perception of and appreciation for chemistry; (2) promoting career advancement opportunities and/or supporting entrepreneurship in the chemistry enterprise; (3) advancing advocacy efforts with government and other thought leaders; and (4) supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and/or research. Please visit or for more details on these awards, which are available to local sections, international chapters, technical divisions, universities, government labs, other professional societies, nonprofit organizations, and many more members of the chemical community.

Let’s continue to work together as “Partners for Progress & Prosperity” to make advances in critical areas and to collaborate to solve global challenges. Let’s partner to work as catalysts for positive change.

Thanks and best wishes for a healthy, prosperous, and happy New Year!

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.



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