It is my pleasure to address the alumni of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. You all have played a role in making the Department what it is today. For that, I thank you.

As you all are hopefully aware, our Department has been staying busy and productive. Last year we awarded over 50 B.S. and B.A. degrees, six M.S. degrees, five Ph.D. degrees, and an honorary doctorate to Dr. Mansukh Wani! We were also happy to welcome Dr. Sherri McFarland as a Professor in 2016, Matt Bryant in the Spring of 2017 as a Program Coordinator, and Dr. Michelle Hu as a Lecturer in the Fall of 2017. Our Department is also proud to have Dr. Kimberly Petersen promoted to Associate Professor with tenure and have Drs. Nadja Cech and Nick Oberlies named as the inaugural Patricia A. Sullivan Distinguished Professors of Chemistry.

Our Department has recently undergone a change in leadership with Dr. Patricia H. Reggio, Marie Foscue Rourk Distinguished Professor, stepping down after over ten years as Department Head. She ushered in a new era for the Department with the development of our Ph.D. program, and increased the research productivity by any metric applied (grants, publications, presentations, etc.). Dr. Reggio is not leaving our program but enjoying her ability to focus more on teaching and research instead of the heavy administrative responsibilities as Head. During the transition, Dr. Jerry Walsh lead the Department as the Interim Department Head, and in August, 2017 I took over as Department Head. Already as Head I’ve enjoyed working more closely with alumni. For example, I was able to communicate with Linda Petree Seiwell who received our Department’s first M.S. degree in 1970. I look forward to even more alumni relations in the future.

With all of the changes to our Department, we are proud that we have been able to maintain our excellence in teaching and undergraduate research. Evidence of this is the fact that Dr. Petersen recently received a Teaching Excellence Award, 17 undergrads had publications in 2016, and over 60 undergrads presented research at various meetings in 2016. Our Department’s ability to excel in both teaching and research is due in large part to the excellent teaching faculty and staff. I consider our Department more than just a group or team, we are a family.

In closing, I invite all of our alumni to keep in contact with us. If you would like a tour of our facilities or want to meet up, please send me an email ( or call our office at 336-334-5714. Also, please join our LinkedIn Group and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep updated with our newsworthy items.

Take care,

Mitch Croatt
Associate Professor and Department Head