TU chemistry professor to be inducted into Higher Education Hall of Fame

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

University of Tulsa Chemistry Professor Robert Howard will be inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in October. The professor and former chairman of TU’s chemistry department focuses on chemical education for elementary and middle school students along with theoretical chemical physics. In 2011, Creativity Oklahoma recognized him with an Oklahoma State of Creativity “Great Inspirations” Award, and he received the Champion for Success Award from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in 2003. Howard was named Oklahoma Chemist of the Year in 2000 and received the Merck Foundation Award for Innovative Science Education in 1993.

The professor’s interests in theoretical chemical physics have resulted in publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics along with service on several national boards. His contributions to K-12 chemistry education have been published in Gifted Child Today and NCA Quarterly and also supported by the National Science Foundation. He has directed several statewide projects including the Oklahoma Teacher Education Collaborative, the Oklahoma Professional Development Institute in Science and many summer programs for teachers.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics from Cornell College, Howard earned a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Indiana University in 1975. He also served as a postdoctoral assistant at IBM Watson Research Center and worked as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

Before beginning his TU career in 1982, Howard taught as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Texas-Permian Basin in Odessa, TX. Now decades later, Howard said he is honored to join legendary TU faculty members in the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.

“A lot of the credit goes to my colleagues in the Department of Chemistry and the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences,” Howard said. “I’ve been a faculty member at TU for 30 years, and it’s amazing to see how much the sciences have changed and grown. This is really an honor that recognizes how far we all have come.”

Howard’s professional affiliations include the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi. He has served as an editorial board member for several publications including The Journal of Mathematics and Science and The Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data.

“Bob has always been a leader in education at The University of Tulsa,” said Dr. Dale Teeters, TU chemistry and biochemistry department chair. “His efforts to interface higher education with secondary education have resulted in the invigoration of many high school science students who have become some of the best college science students across the state.”

Howard will be inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame on Oct. 9, 2012, in Oklahoma City’s Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. He joins more than 150 education leaders who have been inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame since 1994.

Gail Banzet