Named Lectures

Burger Lecture

Alfred Burger served on the faculty of the Chemistry Department from 1938 until his retirement in 1970, teaching organic and medicinal chemistry to over 4,500 students. His research activities with a staff of 40 graduate and 33 post-doctoral students included studies of analgesic, chemo-therapeutic and antidepressant drugs. One of his synthetic compounds was developed as a widely used clinical antidepressant under the name of tanylcypromine (Parnate). He was Chairman of the Chemistry Department in 1962-63.

Marie Payne Graham Memorial Lecture

These lectures are made possible through a generous endowment created by Dr. Robert L. Graham, retired Professor of Minnesota State University, Mankato, to honor the memory of his wife of 46 years, the former Marie Payne of Staunton.  Dr. Graham was a 1958 Ph.D. in Chemistry at UVa under Dr. Loren George Hepler (Physical Chemistry).  Dr. Graham taught for 4 years at Virginia Tech, and then 26 years at Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

Gwathmey Lecture

Allan Gwathmey was born in Richmond, Virginia on July 29, 1903. He attended preparatory school in Richmond and received his B.S. degree from Virginia Military Institute in 1923. Following several years of employment as an engineer, he continued his schooling and obtained a B.S. in Electrochemical Engineering from MIT in 1928. After several years of industrial research, Allan Gwathmey entered graduate school at the University of Virginia during the severe depression years of the early 1930s, and earned the Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in 1938. He chose to do his thesis research in low voltage electron diffraction, a field which later became popularly known as LEED. During this work it was noted that a spherical single crystal of copper exhibited a pattern of interference colors when it was heated. This observation captured his fancy in such a way that an understanding of the anisotropic surface properties of metals became the focal point for his research efforts during the next 25 years. He continued at the University of Virginia as a research associate until his appointment as a member of the Chemistry Department faculty in about 1947 and remained a member of the faculty until his death in 1963.

Hecht Lecture

Sidney Hecht was the John W. Mallet Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biology at the University of Virginia from 1978 until 2008. He is currently the Director of the Center for Bioenergetics in the Biodesign Institute and Professor of Chemistry at Arizona State University. From 1981 to 1987, Dr. Hecht held concurrent appointments first as Vice President, Preclinical Research and Development, and then Vice President, Chemical Research and Development at SmithKline & French Laboratories, where he was appointed a Distinguished Fellow. From 1971 to 1979, he was assistant professor and then associate professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Hecht received his B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois. He serves on the board of directors of Pinnacle Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Ireland Lecture

Robert Ellsworth Ireland received his A.B. from Amherst in 1951, a Ph.D. under the direction of William S. Johnson from the University of Wisconsin in 1954, and was a NSF postdoctoral fellow in the group of William G. Young at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1954-56. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1956, was appointed Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology in 1965, and in 1985 became Director of the Merrel-Dow research Institute in Strasbourg, France. He came to the University of Virginia in 1986, where he served as Chairman and subsequently was selected as the first Thomas Jefferson Professor of Chemistry. He assumed Emeritus status in 1995.

In 1999, a group of former students and postdocs formed the Robert E. Ireland Lectureship in Organic Synthesis with funding from Merck & Co., Pharmacia, SmithKline Beecham, Roche-Syntex, Lilly, Amgen, Wyeth Ayerst, Agouron, and Abott (solicited by Joseph P. Armstrong, a former postdoc with Bob). Subsequent sustaining contributions have beed received from Organic Synthesies (courtesy of Peter Wipf), David Evans, and James Marshall.

Jefferson Lecture

Lutz Lecture

Robert Eliot Lutz was born on March 24, 1900.  After his early education in the Boston School system and a brief draft into the Armed Forces at the end of World War I, he entered Harvard University, graduating with a B. A. degree in 1921.  He continued his studies in the Harvard Chemistry Department and obtained a M. A. degree in 1922 and the Ph.D. degree in 1925. 

Dr. Lutz joined the University of Virginia Chemistry Department as an associate professor in 1928 and was promoted to full professor in 1940. At Virginia he initiated graduate courses and graduate research in organic chemistry, teaching courses at the senior and graduate levels, emphasizing the then emerging theoretical foundations of his science. He was asked to direct one of the earliest efforts directed toward the synthesis of potential antimalarials. With a group of graduate students, Lutz prepared hundred of synthetic analogs of quinine for testing as antimalarials. Twenty years later, the Walter Reed Army Research Institute turned to Dr. Lutz again for cooperation with problems in chemical synthesis. Working with postdoctorals as well as graduate assistants, Lutz completed the synthesis of a number of new molecules including meflaquine.

About seventy-five graduate students received their doctoral degrees under Dr. Lutz’s guidance and nearly fifty received MS. Degrees. At his retirement, his former students established the Lutz Lectureship.

Pratt Lecture

Born October 1879 in King George County Virginia, John Lee Pratt rose from modest beginnings to one of the wealthiest persons in America. As a youth he worked in a Fredricksberg equipment store, and there became interested in Mechanics. This led him to attain a civil engineering degree from UVA in 1902. After graduation he worked as an engineer for Dupont then transferred to General Motors where he eventually rose to become vice-president (1922).
The legend is that Pratt, when working for GM, dropped off an engine that had failed to the engineering dept to have the crankcase oil analyzed. When Pratt, on a return visit, discovered that the engine was still on the loading dock, he approached Professor John Yoe, an Analytical Chemistry professor, who eventually analyzed the crankcase oil.
John Pratt and his wife were generous philanthropists. In April 1976 the University received funds designated in the will of Pratt to be used to “supplement salaries of professors in the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Chemistry (but NOT engineering) …and to provide scholarships for graduate students.”

Schatz Lecture

Paul N. Schatz has published widely in spectroscopic areas ranging from the study of absolute infrared intensities to Magnetic Circular Dichroism (MCD) measurements on matrix isolated species using Synchrotron Radiation in the vacuum ultraviolet, as well as on the theory of mixed valence compounds.