Well, another year is pretty much history. Most of ours here in the St Louis Section–ACS was overshadowed by larger events on the state, national, and global stages. But we were able to set that aside for the Continuity Dinner on December 14th. Café Napoli set us up in a cozy room with a festive view of downtown Clayton through large picture windows.
Apps (the kind you eat), drinks (the kind you drink) and socializing (the kind you … well, you get it by now) preceded the sit-down portion of the evening. Outgoing but-still-officially-the Chair Natalie LaFranzo was determined to get the business meeting behind us before the food arrived, and in a medal-worthy performance, achieved her goal. Rah! (wink) Rah!
The salmon with fresh vegetables was delicious, and I heard no complaints from tablemates about the other main-course selections. So down to the main business of Continuity.Three Salutes to Excellence were awarded this year, to Jeramia Ory for his work as Editor of the Chemical Bond, Will Ridley for ably amplifying the Chemistry is pHun message, and Eric Ressner for webmastering. Only Eric was in attendance, and I can tell you this: from where I sat, he looked startled, deeply moved, and honored. In long overdue recognition, Natalie announced that Eric Bruton is the winner of the 2017 Distinguished Service Award. As is usually true with long overdue recognitions, it’s hard to summarize all that Eric has done for the Section. But if you come to Recognition Night in the spring (when the award is actually conferred), you’ll get to hear some of the gory details.
The Secret Speaker — the identity of the Henry Godt Memorial Lecture is a closely guarded secret until s/he is revealed in the moment — was (wait for it) Leah O’Brien, who did Henry’s memory proud in (mostly) iambic pentameter. Below, her script, the not;tl;dr version of the Section’s year-in-review.
The last order of business/ceremony/fun is the passing of the book and gavel, symbols of the Chair, to the new Chair for 2018, Benjamin Barth. The new Chair-elect, Suzy Hartmann, was there to witness it all and to begin preparing for her own turn at the helm in 2019.
Jim O’Brien was our photo-journalist extraordinaire for this event. The pictures here are a small sample of what went on. If this isn’t enough for you, there’s a whole album out there for your viewing pleasure.
Henry Godt Memorial Lecture
by Leah O’Brien
The Continuity Dinner provides a time
To reflect on our year’s workings as we dine.
Activities our Henry Godt retold;
Tonight in verse with format as of old.
Relax, refill with tea your cup and saucer,
And please forgive my rhyme, for I’m no Chaucer.
Prologue 2 (From Canterbury Tales)
WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne…,
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages…,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke….
The Chemist’s Tale
This Chemist didst in year ’16 rejoice
For Natalie would lead with wit and voice;
To learn the job she had a year of toil
Then ’17 emerged as Captain royal.
With winter star of Venus leading bright
Our ship left port with plans and budgets tight
She set the Chemists’ “pilgrimages” goal
Of inspirational science for one and all.
This Chemist will not publicly describe
The January meeting of the tribe;
But budget must be scribed to the cent
So parties are not soured with feelings bent.
The jubilation of the budget done
Activities and learning had begun.
The children and the youthful ones alike
Our myriads of programs did delight;
From fun pH, to battles with burets,
From Kids-n-Chem, to teams at tournaments,
From Science fairs to Science Center demos,
To merit badges for young gals and fellows,
From Jamborees and outdoor science quests
To outings to find careers that suit them best.
With honors, trophies, ribbons, and dinners won
We show the youth that science work is fun.
Troupes NMR and Mass Spectrometry
To Chemists offered opportunity
With seminars and experts to present
On knowledge fresh, ideas to invent.
With growing coffers from the vendors plenty
Their spending thus seemed magnified by twenty.
Activities were offered for all ages,
Improving Leadership for all life’s stages.
The Younger Chemists met a time or two
And brought in members vigorous and new.
The Women Chemists met and drank some beers,
Advice from chemist-partners with dual careers.
The summer solstice gave the longest day
with picnic brats and burgers on the way.
With horseshoes, cornhole, bean toss, games, and ball
A satisfying day was had by all.
The section offered two esteemed awards.
The lecture, plaque and check were great rewards
For celebrating research, service, teaching,
They showcased Chemists with effect far reaching.
An active member who is well known to us,
Keith Stine did win the grand Award St. Louis.
Discoveries with nanoporous gold
That wowed reviewers who this work extolled.
From Kansas State with crystal engineering
Christer Aackeroy was most endearing.
He earned the medal for our Midwest Award
With chloride-bonded structures he’d explored.
This Chemist knows the “house-elf” myth untrue,
For all this work was done by folks, yes you.
It takes a league, a coterie, a group,
A crew to swab the deck and yet not droop.
We do our chores and tasks in amity
Avoiding chemical calamity.
Which brings me straight to science and a year
Where “news is fake” and “facts aren’t true”, I fear;
Where “Green-House Gas” is now a phrase verboten
And “Climate Change” are words that can’t be spoken.
Beware of those who facts misrepresent,
Our chemistry and science to circumvent.
Clean water, air, and soil we must defend
Because our health on the environment depends.
It’s cheap emitting SOx’s, but unfair,
For I will state “I really love clean air!”
Our yearly pilgrimage is nearly o’er.
We sail our Captain’s ship back to the shore
For Ben soon leads, his journey has begun.
To Natalie and all I say WELL DONE!
Apologies for deeds that I’ve forgot.
“Good Job! Great Year! Good Night!” said Henry Godt.