Brief History of the ISCC

(Originally compiled by C. D. Schaeffer and C. H.Yoder, 2010 –
anyone interested in updating, please contact the ISCC)

The inaugural Intercollegiate Student Chemists Convention (ISCC) was held on April 18, 1936, under the guidance of Professor William Buel Meldrum of Haverford College. Eleven charter member institutions participated in the first convention: Bryn Mawr College, Dickinson College, Drexel Institute of Technology, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Johns Hopkins University, Lafayette College, Swarthmore College, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Ursinus College. Since that time, many more institutions have joined the organization. Undergraduate students from institutions in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania have met for the past three-quarters of a century (with a brief interruption during World War II) to discuss their original research in chemistry. The ISC Convention appears to be the oldest, continuously meeting annual convention of its type in the USA. The convention format has gradually evolved into a “mini-ACS”-style meeting, with oral presentations (normally, in several judged concurrent sessions) in the traditional subdisciplines of chemistry. Prizes are awarded to the top two student presentations in each division. A plenary speaker, chosen to represent a broad spectrum of the group’s academic and industrial interests, highlights the afternoon program, along with a luncheon and public recognition of the awardees. Representative past speakers include: Hubert N. Alyea, Ernest L. Eliel, Henry A. Bent, Calvin A. Van der Werf, Paul von Ragué Schleyer, Alan G. MacDiarmid, Gordon G. Hammes, Alfred R. Bader, Harry Alcock, James E. Huheey, Harold W. Heine, John J. Eisch, Jerrold Meinwald, Ronald Breslow, and Charles M. Lieber.

Except for supervision of research, there is probably no closer collaboration between undergraduate chemistry students and faculty than in organizing and hosting an annual ISCC meeting. Obviously, a large number of chemistry faculty have worked to insure the extraordinary continuity of the convention during the seven decades of its existence, but particularly those serving as Executive Secretary. Several of these are: Roger P. Staiger, John L. Burmeister, Neil H. Potter, Ray K. Schultz, Wayne P. Anderson, Fred A. Snavely, James N. Spencer, Charles D. Schaeffer, Victor J. Tortorelli, and Jennifer L. Morford.

Numerous individuals who presented their first professional papers at the ISC have gone on to pursue successful careers in chemistry. The final listings include a selected few of these former undergraduate chemistry students accompanied by their undergraduate research alma maters and the dates of their initial ISC experiences. How many of these and other former ISC student alumni can you identify who have matured to achieve careers as inspiring teachers, motivated research colleagues, overall role models, or all of these? As chemistry education evolves into the twenty-first century, the nurturing of the ideals exemplified by the rich historical tradition of the ISCC becomes increasingly relevant to rigorous student preparation. The ISCC has as its cornerstone ideal the ability to conduct, recognize, and reward meaningful undergraduate research in the chemical sciences. You are invited to join us once again this year to continue the tradition.

Some prominent chemists have presented at ISCC

F. Albert Cotton. BA Temple University, PhD Harvard (with Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson), youngest full professor at MIT, moved to Texas A&M University in 1972, probably the most prolific inorganic chemist with over 1700 publications. ISCC presentation 5/6/1950.

· Mark M. Chamberlain. BA Franklin & Marshall College, PhD University of Illinois PhD, President of Rowan College, 1969-1984, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Physics, Rowan College 1984-2000. ISCC presentation 4/18/1953.

· Jacqueline I. Kroschwitz. BA Ursinus College, PhD University of Pennsylvania, taught at Barnard and several CUNY schools and Kean College, Executive editor, John Wiley and Sons, 1982-. ISCC presentation 5/9/1964.

· Ben M Dunn. BS University of Delaware, PhD University of California Santa Barbara, College of Medicine, University of Florida, over 350 publications. ISCC presentation 4/29/1967.

· Carol A. Dea Kyne. BS Rider College. PhD Princeton University, College of the Holy Cross, Eastern Illinois University, University of Missouri-Columbia, over 60 research publications. ISCC presentation 4/17/1971.

· Gary A. Eiceman. BS West Chester State College. PhD University of Colorado, New Mexico State University, Imaginative Technologies LLC, over 170 publications. ISCC presentation 4/21/1973.

· Brent DuBeshter. BA Franklin & Marshall College. MD University of Virginia, Director of Gynecologic Oncology and Professor of Oncology, University of Rochester Medical Center, 40 publications. ISCC presentation 4/20/1974.

· Anthony S. Serianni. BS Albright, PhD Michigan State University, Notre Dame, President Omicron Biochemicals, Inc., 180 publications. ISCC presentation 4/20/1974.

· Sally Ann Camper. BS University of Delaware, PhD Michigan Sate University, Professor and Chair of Human Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School, 180 publications. ISCC presentation 4/23/1973.

· Lawrence Husick. BS Muhlenberg College, J.D. Washington College of Law, Lipton, Weinberger, and Husick, Senior Fellow of Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia. ISCC presentation 4/19/1980.

· Erich S. Uffelman. BS Bucknell University, PhD Cal Tech, Professor Washington and Lee University, 25 publications. ISCC presentation 4/16/1983.

· Brian J. Frost. BS Elizabethtown College, PhD Texas A&M University, Associate Preofessor of Chemistry, University of Nevada (Reno), 40 publications. ISCC presentation 4/8/1995.

· J. Stephen Binkley. BS Elizabethtown College, PhD Carnegie Mellon with John Pople, Sandia National Laboratories; Deputy Director of Science Programs, US Dept. of Energy, ISCC presentation 4/25/1970.