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Department History

140 Years of Chemistry at Texas Christian University

Manfred G. Reinecke

Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus

Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Emeritus Tutor

Texas Christian University was founded by East Texas brothers Addison (1842-1911) and Randolph Clark (1844-1935). Upon returning from service in the Civil War, the Clark brothers established a children’s preparatory school in Fort Worth, Texas,  known as the Male & Female Seminary of Fort Worth. The brothers purchased five blocks of land in downtown Fort Worth in 1869 for that purpose.

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The character of Fort Worth changed 1867–1872 due to the Chisholm Trail, the principal route for moving Texas cattle to Kansas railheads. A huge influx of cattle, men, and money transformed the sleepy frontier village into a booming, brawling “Cowtown.” The area around the Clark’s property soon became an unrelieved stretch of saloons, gambling halls, dance parlors, and bawdy houses catering to the rough tastes of the Chisholm Trail cowboys which, by 1872, acquired the nickname of “Hell’s Half Acre” (the heart of which is today occupied by the Fort Worth Convention Center).

Move to Thorp Spring, Texas, 1873–1895

The Clarks feared that this negative environment undermined the fledgling university’s mission so they moved their college to Thorp Spring, Texas, in 1873 as the AddRan Male and Female College. It was one of the first coeducational institutions of higher education west of the Mississippi River, and the very first in Texas at a time when only 15% of the national college enrollment was female and almost all were enrolled at women’s colleges. The college was renamed AddRan Christian University in 1889 when the brothers deeded it to the church. The college was renamed again to Texas Christian University in 1902, although 1873 is recognized as TCU’s founding year.

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TCU moved to Waco in 1895, and remained until 1911 when the main building was destroyed by fire.

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TCU relocated to downtown Fort Worth when the Waco facility burned. Three new buildings on the present campus were opened in 1911. Chemistry was housed in the basement of Clark Hall until 1926, and moved to Goode Hall until 1951.

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Chemistry in Fort Worth

Winton-Scott Hall was built in 1952.

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In 1919 the Science Department split into chemistry, physics and biology-geology. This marked the hiring of TCU’s first professor of Chemistry, F. Woodall Hogan BS, MS, Chem.; Assoc. Prof. 1920-29, Prof.1929-1957.

“[A] man on whom polio had set its mark in vain; his keen brain was the keener and his self reliant spirit was ever obvious in the skill with which he manipulated his crutches and his steel encased legs, rejecting any thought of assistance.” Colby D. Hall’s History of TCU, 1947

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J. Lawrence Whitman, the first Ph.D. chemistry faculty member,  served as professor and department head during 1928-1945. Prof. Whitman was hired with the the initial Burnett Trust funds, and was
instrumental in founding TCU’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

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Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Ruth Evelyn Saunders

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Dr. Ruth Evelyn Sanders was born October 15, 1918 in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated from TCU in 1939 with a BA in chemistry and a minor in mathematics. She was named to the Honor Roll during all four years at TCU, and served as  secretary-treasurer of the TCU Chapter of Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society and a chemistry teaching assistant.

After graduation, Dr. Sanders worked at Globe Laboratories in Fort Worth, Texas,  on the production of veterinary vaccines before going to Michigan State University for an MS in Biochemistry (1943) and a Ph.D. in Bacteriology (1947). She joined the MSU Department of Microbiology and Public Health to become Associate Professor in 1950, specializing in research on brucellosis and serving as Director of Graduate Laboratory studies. She retired from MSU in 1980.

Dr. Sanders was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Microbiology, Sigma Xi, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She died on April 28, 1994 and endowed the Ruth Evelyn Sanders Lectureship in the TCU Chemistry Department to bring well-known chemists to TCU and Fort Worth as visiting scholars.

Research at TCU

The expansion of research in the TCU Chemistry Department began in 1956 when Joe E. Hodgkins (1956-67), a Fort Worth, Texas native and TCU BS & MS (1951) returned after receiving his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

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In 1957, Hodgkins’ classmate at Rice, William H. Watson, received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry and accepted a faculty position at TCU.  Watson was encouraged by Rice professor W. O. Milligan, President of the Robert A. Welch Foundation, who offered Bill a Welch grant if he would go.

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Professor William B. Smith of Ohio University accepted an invitation to be a visiting professor at TCU for the 1960-1 academic year on a grant from the Welch Foundation obtained by Hodgkins and Watson. They were impressed and asked Smith to stay (1961-98) .

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About this time the first commercial NMR machines appeared to generate considerable enthusiasm about this new instrumental technique. Bill Smith agreed to remain if one of the new Varian A-60 NMRs would be available for his research. Hodgkins and Watson therefore obtained a grant from the Welch Foundation for the first Varian A-60 NMR in the state of Texas and Smith became Head of Chemistry in 1961.

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After Sputnik, the development of NASA and increasing science research support, TCU saw an opportunity to develop a Ph.D. program in chemistry. This plan had the support of James Moudy, former Dean of the Graduate School and soon to be Chancellor. In 1963 the chemistry Ph.D. program was approved as the first in North Texas and the fifth at TCU, after physics and psychology in 1960 and english and math in 1962.

Chemistry Ph.D. Dissertations

1960 [13]
Woodyard, James Douglas, A study of the triplet state of organic molecules. 1966
Francis, Robert F., Preparation of Azacyclononanes. 1967
González, Carlos, A study of the reaction between sodium phenoxide and 2-chlorocyclohexanone-1,2-C¹⁴. 1967
Adickes, H. Wayne, Reactions of halothiophenes with metal amides. 1968
Massingill, John, Alkaloids of bacteria and cacti and a novel synthesis of Dihydro-p-dithiins and dihydrodithiepins. 1968
May, Jim. Polymer studies by gel permeation chromatography. 1968
Rogers, Jesse W., A molecular orbital and ESR study of nitro-substituted anion [pi]-radicals. 1968
Sager, Ray. Crystal structures & properties of copper(II) & zinc(II) complexes of β-diketones and aromatic N-oxides. 1968
Williams, Rickey Jay. X-ray crystal structure studies of metal complexes. 1968
Brown, Stanley D., Cactus alkaloids. 1969
Kidd, Morgan Ray, Magnetic properties of binuclear copper (II) complexes of 4-substituted pyridine N-oxides. 1969
Roark, James L., Substituent effects on aromatic proton chemical shifts. 1969
Temple, Harold W., Polymer studies via gel permeation chromatographic analysis. 1969

1970 [27] 1980 [33] 1990 [31] 2000 [33] 2010 [9]

Welch Chairs

TCU’s Welch Chair in chemistry has served as a major factor in developing research and graduate education at TCU. The department was first granted the Welch Foundation endowed chair in 1973. This was occupied from 1974 to 1985 by Paul D. Bartlett of Harvard, whose Welch Award in 1981 was only the second given to a Texas chemist. From 1989 to 2002 this chair was occupied by C. David Gutsche of Washington University in St. Louis and since 2010 by Eric Simanek from Texas A & M University.

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Bartlett (1973-85), Physical Organic

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Gutsche (1989-2002), Calixarenes

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Simanek (2010-), Dendrimers and Bioorganic

P. D. Bartlett Symposium on Physical Organic Chemistry August 1975

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SUBSEQUENT TENURED OR TENURE-TRACK TCU CHEMISTRY FACULTY

Henry C. Kelly Ph.D., 1964-1998
Manfred G. Reinecke Ph.D. 1964-
John G. Albright Ph.D. 1966-2004
Clifford G. Venier Ph.D. 1967-1979
William H. Koehler Ph.D. 1969-2004
Dale Huckaby Ph.D. 1969-2010
Joseph A. Bobitch, Ph.D. 1973-2007
Paul D. Bartlett, Ph.D. 1974-1985 Welch Chair
Robert H. Neilson, Ph.D. 1978-
David E. Minter, Ph.D. 1980-
C. David Gutsche, Ph.D. 1989-2002 Welch Chair
Jeffrey L. Coffer Ph.D. 1990-
Tracy A. Hanna, Ph.D. 1998-2013
Jean-Luc Montchamp, Ph.D. 1998-
Onofrio Annunziatta, Ph.D. 2004-
Sergei Dzyuba, Ph.D. 2006-
Youngha Ryu, Ph.D. 2007-
Benjamin Janesko, Ph.D. 2009-
Kayla Green, Ph.D. 2010-
Eric Simanek, Ph.D. 2010- Welch Chair
Yulia Sevryugina , Ph.D. 2013-