We are a dynamic and visionary organization committed to improving people’s lives in our community through the transforming power of chemistry. We strive to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Kalamazoo, Allegan and Van Buren counties.
KACS has been named a ChemLuminary Award finalist by the Local Section Activities Committee (LSAC) for Outstanding Performance by a Local Section in our local section size category - which currently is Medium Small (we have ~320 members). Our current chair of the KACS received this exciting news during the week of October 19. The selection was made after review of our 2019 Annual Report* which we submitted in February of 2020 – congratulations are in order to each member who contributed to any of our many successful programs during 2019!
The ChemLuminary Awards program usually happens at the Fall ACS meeting and is filled with much anticipation and excitement as awards are announced and presented to groups and individuals identified as winners by each of 23 different ACS Committees. Since the 2020 Fall meeting was in an all-virtual format this celebratory event did not take place in August; an online celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, December 9 at 4 pm Eastern time! That is when winners for each award will be announced. We hope that many of our KACS members will be able to register here. Log in as requested and attend ☺
Helen Free was past President of the ACS in 1993 and participated in the establishment of Kids & Chemistry, a program in which scientists do hands-on activities with elementary school students. As chair of the National Chemistry Week Task Force (1987-1992), she shepherded ACS' most successful public outreach program through its formative years. She helped originate and led the movement toward a worldwide International Chemistry Celebration in 1999, and continued with the United Nations' declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry.
The Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of public outreach by a member of the ACS who improves public recognition and appreciation for the contributions of chemistry. This award was established in 1995 by the American Chemical Society Committee on Public Relations and Communications (CPRC).
KACS Councilor and long-time public outreach leader Lydia Hines was scheduled to receive the 2020 Helen M. Free Award during the National Fall ACS Meeting in San Francisco. Unfortunately, with the Fall Meeting being moved to an online meeting, Lydia was unable to receive her award in person. With this, the Kalamazoo ACS Section decided to hold a recognition event on October 20 for Lydia. Below is the agenda. The event was attended on a video meeting by 32 ACS members, including friends and family.
Alternate Councilor Doug Williams opened the event with a greeting and welcome to Lydia and all in attendance. He then introduced the evening's speakers who praised Lydia and outlined her accomplishments that made her deserving of this award.
"Lydia motivated me to reach out to children and instill the love of chemistry that she demonstrated at chemistry day and at schools she visited."
"Lydia's car and house are packed with chemistry experiments that are always available for ACS members and teachers to use in their demonstrations and classrooms."
"Lydia is so reliable and when she says she will help; she is always there."
"Lydia has made us all better."
"She asks, cajoles, and then asks again."
This patience, persistence and dedication has made a difference in our local section, our schools, the greater Kalamazoo area and on the national ACS stage. Representatives from the National ACS "put her in a class by herself." Doug deftly managed the meeting so other friends and family could contribute their personal accolades.
Lydia was touched by all these kind words. She then delivered a brief overview of her early years and her love of chemistry that contributed to this award. Lydia was born in the US and then moved to Cyprus with her parents (she is of Greek heritage) to spend her early years on that island in the eastern Mediterranean. She graduated from Aurora College in Aurora, IL, and then received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois. After a stint with Mead Johnson, in 1975 she joined the Patent Liaison Department of the Upjohn Company.
In the Spring of 1987, Lydia organized a Chemistry Day at the local museum, which was then above the public library. Local chemists presented science / chemistry experiments for school children, many times wowing their parents as well. This began before the National ACS, under Helen Free, initiated National Chemistry Week. This work as well as Lydia's outreach to schools, her local and national ACS activities, and her mentoring of other chemists continues unabated. Lydia acknowledged her family, friends and the ACS Staff and members around the country who have supported her in her love of chemistry and her outreach programs for over 40 years. At this conclusion the virtual meeting exploded in applause.
Hershel Jude, the Local ACS Chair, thanked Lydia for her wonderful words and her patience with everyone who doesn't have as much energy as she has. Hershel also put in a plug for obtaining more volunteers for education committee activities that Lydia champions.
I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Hershel, Ed, and Doug for their kind effort and successful execution of this large ZOOM recognition on October 20. It was delightful, yet somewhat embarrassing, to be the focus of so much attention, but the choice of speakers was absolutely spot-on, as they were representative of the span of years, as well as the variety of outreach, with which I have been involved. Impromptu comments from other colleagues who joined the celebration from different areas of the country were heart-warming as they represented ACS' presence and impact on the national level.
A special birthday greeting is in order for our 77-year ACS/KACS member, Dr. Don Iffland (retired from WMU – Chemistry), who will celebrate his 99th birthday on Thanksgiving Day this year! Dr. Iffland served as our Section chair in 1967 (our 25th anniversary as a section) and in 1968.
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