After about a half hour of free-form socializing, outgoing Chair Joe Ackerman got down to business. First was the General Meeting of the Section, with a vote on the Bylaw revisions: passed unanimously (whew!). Then the Board of Directors meeting: this had the feel of a black-diamond downhill run, as Joe was determined to get ’er done before dinner was served. And get ’er done he did.
The food was excellent. Salmon here; tablemates’ orders included filet of beef (nice) or scallops (which looked beautiful if you weren’t too hungry).
All that was left for the after-dinner wrap-up was the special Continuity agenda:
- Two Salutes to Excellence were awarded: (1) to Keith Stine and Jim O’Brien for their 15 years of Career Day programs, outreach to area high school chemistry students; and (2) to Henry Rohrs for his wildly successful Mass Spec Discussion Group leadership for lo! these many years.
- Vic Lewchenko was cited (in preview) for the Distinguished Service Award. Vic has been efficiently and honorably serving as Treasurer for six years. In addition, he and his camera are a talented, reliable presence at most events: the unofficial Section photo-documentarian. He’ll actually receive the award at Recognition Night, but you heard it here first.
- The Henry Godt Memorial Lecture was given by traditionally secret speaker (unknown but to Joe). Joe did the usual looking-around misdirection (with smirk) before landing on … no … yes … Vic Lewchenko to deliver the 2016 HGML (highlights below, but the executive summary is “we do a lot of stuff”).
- Finally, Joe Ackerman released his grip on the Gavel and Book of office, ceding custody to the 2017 Chair, Natalie LaFranzo.
We understand we have Brenda Ackerman (Joe’s SO) to thank for the arrangements. All together now: “Thanks, Brenda! Well done, indeed.”
Henry Godt Memorial Lecture
There is no verbatim transcript of Vic’s oration. He worked from notes on 3×5, day-glo yellow index cards. But we have those cards and will attempt to reconstruct Vic’s gist. The cards are not numbered, so hmmm, this could be interesting.
Vic recalled past HGMLs structured as • Twitter hash tags (Ted Gast) • haikus (Sean Dingman) or • rah-rah cheers complete with pom-pons (Natalie LaFranzo). None of that stuff for Vic, so “no gimmick” was Vic’s gimmick for 2017.
Vic organized his oratory around three goals of the Section: recognition, outreach, and fellowship; and had much to recall in each category.
Recognition: 50- and 60-year members, Outstanding junior chemistry students, the Sci/Tech Award (to Rhonda Woerndle), Natalie LaFranzo appointed national Chair of the Younger Chemists Committee, Lisa Balbes receiving the Howard & Sally Peters Award for work in alternative careers for chemists. There was Rob Lamb (High School Chemistry Teacher-of-the-Year), the Saint Louis Award to Liviu Mirica, the Midwest Award to Jacob Petrich, and the Distinguished Service Award to Bill Doub.
Our efforts at Outreach were exemplified by special judging at three regional science fairs (Sheryl Loux and Will Ridley), Battle of the Burets with 24 teams from 10 high schools organized by Leah O’Brien, the High School Chem Contest (Myron Reese), the amazing first annual Washington University Chemistry Tournament (WU undergrads Harshath Gupta and Abhishek Sethi) with 174 participants, Career Day at UMSL, Earth Day at the Science Center (Reni Joseph), the Spooktacular (Sheryl Loux) in conjunction with National Chemistry Week, and the umpteenth Boy Scout Merit Badge Clinic (Lisa Balbes).
Finally, pardon us for having a little fun along the way with opportunities for Fellowship: the 12th Annual Section Picnic hosted by Joe and Brenda at their home, and of course this Continuity Dinner. Raise a toast with whatever’s left.
Vic’s Flickr photostream of the event has more pictures. Enjoy!