Fall 2021 Welcome Message From the Chair

Chris Cahill
August 12, 2021

 

Dear Colleagues-

Welcome to the start of a new academic year- and in person, this time! I was hoping to be able to declare more confidence in being ‘out of the woods’ with respect to COVID, but not quite. Looks like we will need to be vigilant a bit longer, but let’s not let that deter us from getting back to class, labs and research. That said, I know the last year has been a challenge for a number of us- many have either been ill, navigated family commitments, or lost loved ones. I admire your perseverance and hope that the GW Chemistry community can be a source of restoration and help facilitate a return to (the new) normal.  And for the time being- that ‘new normal’ here at GW may be defined by the criteria outlined in GW’s Onward Plan. I encourage you to give that a careful read and to refer regularly to the resources therein.

We have quite a bit to look forward to this semester. We’ve launched a new course- “Frontiers of Chemical Research” to be followed up with “Building a Chemistry Identity” in the Spring. Profs. Meisel and McClary (respectively) are addressing some opportunities to encourage undergraduate research participation sooner in undergraduate curriculum, and to develop a broad set of skills for success in STEM. Recall that our Strategic Plan prioritizes enriching the student experience, and these are two outstanding contributions in that regard.

As per usual, we have an exciting seminar series planned. These take place in B1220 on Fridays at 2:00pm and will be broadcast live as well. Oddly, one good thing that’s come out of our virtual learning period is an expansion of our classroom technology and ability to broadcast. Thus, we’ll give that a go this semester and expand the reach of our seminars even further. 

And let me close with a few words of gratitude to my predecessor, Dr. Michael King. All of us are aware of his tireless commitment to and advocacy for the GW Chemistry Department. His latest demonstration of this commitment comes in the form of a substantive bequest to establish the Michael, Linda and Jacob King Chair of Organic Chemistry. More details can be found here, yet in brief, a gift of this magnitude is amazing in so many ways. For starters, an Endowed Chair allows for recruitment of ‘big guns’ in the field owing to the resources it provides. This impacts all aspects of our operations, output and reputation. We could not be more grateful, flattered, or excited about this gift.

 

Chris Cahill
Chemistry Department Chair