Past Chair holder: Ron Blankespoor, Chemistry and Biochemistry (2006-2009)
Background. This document spells out the details related to the establishment of an Organic Chemistry Chair at Calvin College. This Chair has been funded by a gift to the college for the express purpose of establishing this position. The person who is appointed to the Organic Chemistry Chair position will be referred to as the “designee.”
Purpose. Organic chemistry along with biochemistry, analytical, inorganic, and physical chemistry comprise the major divisions within the science of chemistry. Organic compounds constitute the building blocks of living things with carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen serving as the principle atoms found in nucleic acids, proteins, sugars, fats, and petroleum products. Organic compounds are found in drugs and medicines, polymers, clothing, and fuels and are the targets of research, development, and manufacturing. Almost half of the chemists work directly or indirectly with organic compounds. Consequently, students preparing for careers in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, or medicine must receive extensive training and have an understanding of organic chemistry. Presently, at Calvin College, three of the ten positions in chemistry are filled by organic chemists who seek to provide this important training.
In its Mission Statement, the department seeks “to engage in chemical/biochemical education and research that takes seriously the Creator’s invitation to explore and investigate the atomic/molecular features of the world, and to provide a Christian model for its study, stewardly use, and keeping.” All faculty attempt to carry out this mission in the formal classroom. The primary goal of this chair is to increase the opportunity to carry out the department mission in a laboratory setting by providing increased time for research in organic chemistry applicable for student involvement, active participation, education, and inspiration. This research program is externally funded and will result in presentations, papers, and peer-reviewed publications with students as co-authors.