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Distinguished Lecture Awards

NOBCChE advances its mission of building an eminent cadre of people of color in science and technology by providing prominent role models of color in science and technology in their respective professions and through national recognition of minority scientists, engineers, and technology professionals. High profile role models participate in the conference as distinguished lecturers for NOBCChE signature events.

Nominations are Closed

Percy Julian Award and Lecture: The Percy L. Julian Award for significant contributions in pure and/or applied research in science or engineering is our most prestigious award. Dr. Julian was an African-American who obtained his BS in Chemistry from DePauw University in 1920. Although he entered DePauw as a “substandard freshman,” he graduated as the class valedictorian with Phi Beta Kappa honors. His first job was as an instructor at Fisk University. Julian left Fisk and obtained a master’s degree in chemistry from Harvard in 1928, and his Ph.D. in 1931 from the University of Vienna, Austria. It was after his return to DePauw in 1933 that Julian conducted the research that led to the synthesis of physostigmine, a drug used in the treatment of glaucoma. Julian left DePauw in 1936 to become director of research of the Soya Products Division of the Glidden Company in Chicago. This position at Glidden made Julian the world’s first African – American to lead a research group in a major corporation. Over the course of his career he acquired over 115 patents, including one for a fire-extinguishing foam that was used on oil and gasoline fires during World War II. Though he had over 100 patents and 200 scientific publications, his most notable contribution was in the synthesis of steroids from soy and sweet potato products. This award honors his legacy by recognizing the entrepreneurship, scientific rigor, professional impact, and excellence of the awardee.
Winifred Burks-Houck Professional Leadership Lecture, Awards, and Symposium: Winifred Burks-Houck was the first female president of NOBCChE. In 2010, NOBCChE established the distinguished lecture, award, and symposium to honor Winifred A. Burks-Houck by highlighting the scientific achievements, creativity, leadership, and community service of a NOBCChE-affiliated professional woman and a NOBCChE undergraduate and graduate student working towards a degree in a STEM field. For NOBCChE, Burks-Houck was recognized for her efforts to actively establish the organization on the West Coast. She was the first chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter from 1984 to 1990 and organized numerous educational and professional development activities for the local community. In 1991, Burks-Houck was elected national vice-president of NOBCChE, a position she held until becoming president in 1993. She served as president for four consecutive terms until stepping down in 2001. During her tenure as president, Burks-Houck expanded the organization to include many new professional and student chapters. She also developed a strong relationship between NOBCChE and ACS that has enhanced both organizations' outreach programs for minority chemists. Distinguished lecturers are women who are thought leaders on STEM, leadership, organizational development, entrepreneurship, and other success enabling areas.