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Maurice Bursey (center in this undated photo) wrote the departmental history Carolina Chemists, published in 1982, and another book seven years later on Francis P. Venable. (photo courtesy of N.C. Collection, University Libraries)

Chemistry Milestones, 1818 – 2018

Chemistry Milestones, 1818 – 2018

1818       Denison Olmsted becomes UNC’s professor of chemistry and mineralogy

1852       Smith Hall, the first chemistry building (which included a teaching lab), opens

1875       Chemistry moves to Person Hall

1880       Francis P. Venable becomes sixth professor of chemistry and first UNC faculty member with an earned Ph.D.

1891       John Motley Morehead does graduate work in chemistry with Venable

1893      William Rand Kenan Jr. graduates with senior thesis on the identification of calcium carbide

1900       Francis P. Venable becomes president of UNC

1909       Daisy Burrows Allen is the first woman to graduate with a B.S. in chemistry

1925       Venable Hall is dedicated

1927       Lillie Fielding Poisson Cutlar is the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry

1953       Second half of Venable Hall is dedicated

1956       William F. Little joins the UNC faculty

1960       Royce W. Murray is appointed assistant professor of analytical chemistry

1965       Eddie Lee Hoover is the first African-American student to earn a B.A. in chemistry

1971       Kenan Laboratories opens

1974       Slayton A. Evans Jr. becomes the department’s first African-American faculty member

1976       Linda L. Spremulli becomes the first female faculty member

1985       Morehead Laboratories opens

1990       Joseph DeSimone becomes assistant professor at UNC

2004       Ground is broken for the Carolina Physical Science Complex

2007      First of the new chemistry buildings, W. Lowry and Susan S. Caudill Laboratories, opens

2008      Holden Thorp, former department chair, becomes UNC chancellor

2010      Murray and New Venable halls open

2012      Valerie Sheares Ashby becomes first female and first African-American department chair

2016      Joseph DeSimone receives the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation

2018      Chemistry celebrates its bicentennial

Read a story on chemistry’s bicentennial and a sidebar on a new grant to support female chemists.

By Patty Courtright (B.A. ’75, M.A. ’83)

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