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C. Michael Elliott

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 26, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 4

C. Michael Elliott, 64, professor of chemistry and College of Natural Sciences Professor Laureate at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, died on July 2, 2014.

Born in Cedartown, Ga., Elliott earned a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1971 from Davidson College in North Carolina and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1975 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He completed his postdoctoral work at Stanford University under James P. Collman.

After serving as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Elliott joined Colorado State as an associate professor of chemistry in 1981.

Elliott was chemistry department chair from 1999 to 2003. Beginning in 2008, he served as codirector of the Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion within the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, a research consortium of the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

During more than 30 years of research in electron-transfer reactions, photochemistry, and electrochemistry, Elliott focused on transition-metal complexes with renewable energy applications in redox-active polymer materials, materials with novel electronic properties, redox catalysis, and sensors. He held U.S. and international patents and is credited with more than 120 publications.

Elliott loved spending time with students, advising more than 40 Ph.D. and M.S. students and mentoring countless others.

He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received the Phillips Petroleum Award for Excellence in Research & Teaching in 1985 and the Outstanding Science Mentor Award from Colorado State University in 2005. Elliott joined ACS in 1972.

Elliott was known for his forthright and honest approach to all things in life. His wry sense of humor, intense dedication, and no-nonsense attitude endeared him to many.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Elizabeth; his stepson, Trey Tanner; his sister, Sally Sasser; and three grandsons.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.



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