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ISB Celebration Event - Spring, 2019


View the photo gallery from the reception and dinner on Friday, May 31, 2019 

View the photo gallery from the ISB events on Saturday, June 1, 2019 


The Chemistry Department celebrated our move into the Integrated Science Building (ISB) by hosting one of the largest events in Departmental history. Over 70 alumni and their guests came back to campus to see the new building and reminisce with colleagues, mentors and friends. Faculty, staff, students and more came together to exhibit the many benefits the new facility has to offer. Friday, May 31 allowed guests to enjoy a beautiful reception and dinner at the new Burge Union. The guests were honored to hear from a number of Guest Speakers, including  

  • Prof. Carl Lejuez, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
  • Prof. Joy Ward, Associate Dean of the College and Dean’s Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Prof. Richard Schowen, Distinguished Professor Emeritus
  • Bonnie Lowe, President and CEO, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce

We also had the opportunity to honor  our longstanding Business Manager, Susan Teague, who will be retiring at the end of June after over 40 years of service to the Department of Chemistry.

Saturday, June 1 was packed full of opportunities for alumni to explore ISB. We began the day with breakfast followed by an Alumni Panel Discussion with four KU Chemistry Alumni Panelists:

  • Dr. Don Leedy, Ph.D.1968
  • Dr. Sarah Vickery, Ph.D. 2002
  • Dr. Ben Spry, BS 2004
  • Dr. Katie Mitchell-Koch, Ph.D. 2008 

Moderated by Dr. Steve Soper, panelists were asked to discuss their experiences at KU, how KU roots helped them overcome professional challenges, and what advice they would offer current KU students. Audience members were also able to participate through the Q&A portion of the panel.

After the panel discussion, guests broke out into smaller group activities such as Core Lab and Classroom Technology tours. Postdoctoral Researcher Srujana Prayakarao led tours of the new state-of -the-art Cleanrooms. To paraphrase Nanofabrication Facility Director, Ryan Grigsby, the KU Nanofabrication Facility is a 10,500 sq.ft. cleanroom established to support biomedical, bioanalytical and materials research at KU. Users work in the facility to make devices with micro- and nano-scaled features using either glass, thermoplastics, or poly-dimethylsilizane (PDMS).

Tours of the new Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) facility were led by Assistant Researcher Sarah Neuenswander. Her presentation, entitled “A Brief Overview Of The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory and Its Evolution Through the Years”, offered guests the chance to see the equipment up close. According to the NMR Lab Director, Justin Douglas, “The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory is responsible for maintaining the high field NMR spectrometers, training users, providing spectra on a service basis, and assisting users with design, execution, and interpretation of NMR experiments.”

Dave Benson hosted multiple Classroom Technology tours for nearly 50 alumni. Guests were able to experience an excerpt from one of Professor Benson’s classes from the perspective of a student. They could write on the glass dry erase whiteboard, view the course content on the projectors, test the table microphones and more. The advancement of classroom technology has created an extremely different learning environment from the alumni’s time at KU.  

Simultaneously to the core lab and classroom technology tours, current students and postdocs were busy hosting poster sessions detailing current research going on in KU Chemistry – especially ISB. Graduate students, the Graduate Student Organization (GSO), and the Chem Club all presented research and organization information to alumni guests. This was a great chance for current students to network with alumni and ask for advice for their own upcoming careers.

The day wrapped up with facility wide tours offered by current KU Chemistry Professors. Brian Laird, Steve Soper, Sue Lunte, Bob Dunn, and Jon Tunge led groups of alumni through our teaching labs, research labs, classrooms, and other areas of the Chemistry Department’s new home. The alumni enjoyed comparing the labs they worked in during their time at KU to the new labs in the Integrated Science Building.

While it was sad to say goodbye to former students and colleagues, we were overjoyed at the success of the event. Many of the attendees had not seen each other in years and the move into ISB was such as special reason to get everyone back together. We hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as we did!

Chemistry department receives more than $8.5 million in research grants annually
14 chemistry faculty members have NSF CAREER Awards
Longest-running chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates in the nation
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