Greetings Chemistry Alumni and Friends

Chuck Zercher

As my first official act as newly elected department chair, I am thrilled to be able to write this introduction to a department newsletter that is filled to overflowing with information about the department, alumni, and faculty. As I read through the assembled documents, I was struck with the breadth and depth of UNH influence throughout the chemistry community. Alumni of the UNH Chemistry department are scattered worldwide and their manifest accomplishments bring credit to this institution. We should feel great satisfaction and pride in the successes described herein, which clearly illustrate the special nature of the UNH Department of Chemistry.

Many changes have occurred to the Department of Chemistry since the last newsletter was distributed, and it would be foolish for me to attempt to list all of them. I urge that you read through the newsletter, for you will certainly recognize names of people, both faculty and students, that you know. But I would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to some of the people, accomplishments, and activities that involve this department.

The undergraduate program in Chemistry at UNH continues to thrive, and our most recent first year classes have been the largest in over twenty years. In September 2010 we will be welcoming greater than 25 first year Chemistry majors. Record enrollments in General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry have stretched resources, but the department’s commitment to high quality instruction has not changed.

We have welcomed three new Assistant Professors in the last few years, and one more faculty member will be joining us this fall. The energy and enthusiasm of these young faculty members and the diversity of their expertise will undoubtedly transform this department. Meg Greenslade is an experimental physical chemist, whose energy has transformed the P. Chem. Lab. Her research interests in aerosols provide a nice connection between the chemistry department and environmental science. Gonghu Li is also a physical chemist, who possesses a breadth of interest and expertise in the areas of material science and inorganic chemistry. Sam Pazicni’s expertise in both chemical education and inorganic chemistry adds strength to the department in both of those disciplines. Our newest addition to the Department of Chemistry is Eric Berda, who will join the department in the fall semester of 2010. Eric is a polymer chemist, who will have a joint appointment between chemistry and the material science program. 

As many of you probably know, we are immersed in the planning for a complete renovation of Parsons Hall, which will take place over the next thirty months. Parsons Hall was built in the early-to-mid 1960’s, and is certainly showing its age. We are excited about the opportunity to address air quality issues, incorporate air conditioning, and remodel all of the teaching and research spaces in accordance with 2010 safety standards. In order to jump start the process, both the Iddles Auditorium and the Library are undergoing changes this summer (2010), and some of our faculty and their research groups are in the process of being moved to available space around the campus. In May of 2011, the full force of the renovation will be felt, with the goal of completing the teaching labs by September of 2011 and the remainder of the building by December 2012. If you happen to come to campus and observe the disruption inherent to a renovation process, I want you to know that we are still in business. The Department office will be maintained in Parsons Hall throughout the renovation, and our office staff could certainly assist you in contacting whichever departmental personnel you are seeking, no matter where they are temporarily located on campus.

The 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society will be held in Boston from August 22-26, 2010. The proximity of this meeting to UNH will facilitate the attendance of numerous faculty, faculty emeriti, staff, and students. We will be hosting a reception for UNH Alumni and Friends on Tuesday, August 24 from 5-7 pm at the Renaissance Hotel, which is located near the Waterfront Convention Center in Boston. The reception is free, with a cash bar, and no RSVP is required. We hope that you, along with many other alumni and friends, will be able to join us, and we ask that you spread the word of this reception to other individuals.

We want to thank you for your continued generous financial support of the University and of the Department of Chemistry. The financial pressures on the state and the commitment to moderating tuition costs has made the financial gifts of alumni essential to the operation of the university. If you are interested in providing financial support for the Department of Chemistry, we ask that you specify that in a cover letter that accompany your contribution. Even small amounts of money provide the department flexibility in addressing financial concerns in the classroom and research environments, and in fostering the sense of community that has traditionally defined our department.

Many opportunities exist for financial donors to make a difference within the chemistry department. In particular, as we work through the renovation of Parsons Hall, opportunities for enhancing teaching lab instrumentation, providing resources for instructional space, and honoring faculty and alumni are abundant. Feel free to contact the department or the UNH Foundation for more information.

We intend to provide frequent issues of this newsletter, which will allow all of us to maintain an awareness of and connection to the UNH Chemistry family. In order to provide frequent newsletters, we will require your assistance. Please send us updated news information (nothing is too insignificant!) and contact information for yourself and other alumni. We look forward to hearing from you.

    Chuck Zercher
July 7, 2010