NOBCChE History

The Story of NOBCChE

A Message from Joseph Francisco, NOBCChE President, 2005-2007

"The history of the founding of NOBCChE is a record of our past. It is a record of how a group of individual African-American chemists and chemical engineers came together to create an organization to promote the professional advancement and development of Black chemists and chemical engineers in this country. The foundation of NOBCChE is based on self-reliance, which reflects the high value placed upon self-reliance by the African-American community. It is also a value that links generations of African-American chemists and chemical engineers together through time. Knowing this history is what drives our future and what we do to secure that future. Knowing this history is what makes me proud of how far we have traveled as an organization and excited about what lies ahead."   


Explore Our Story
1. Our History
2. Our Founders
3. Our Presidents
4. Early NOBCChE Milestones
4. National Conferences

Our History

An Ad Hoc Committee for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers was organized in April 1972. The founders each contributed $200. The establishment of the committee was assisted financially by a grant of $850 provided by the Haas Community Fund, and a $400 grant administered through Drexel University. The committee then surveyed Black professionals to ascertain their interest in establishing a formal organization dedicated to the professional advancement of Black chemists and chemical engineers. Enthusiastic questionnaire responses prompted the committee to expand and reconvene in September 1972 to setup a structured organization and to devise a means of securing funds to finance its development.

In December 1973, the Organization's Executive Board met to plan the first national meeting which was held in March 1974 in New Orleans. The national meeting provided a rare opportunity for Black chemists and chemical engineers to discuss issues of significance to their careers, to present technical papers, to formulate priorities and topics for future meetings. Practical and theoretical goals began to coalesce, and a national program was developed. The Organization has held national meetings since 1974.

The official name is the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. The official acronym is NOBCChE (pronounced No-be-shay). NOBCChE was incorporated in 1975 under the laws of the State of Georgia and has tax-exempt status as a non-profit professional society.



Our Founders

  1. Dr. Joseph N. Cannon, Chemical Engineer, Prof. - Howard University
  2. Dr. Lloyd Ferguson, Chemist, Prof. - California State University
  3. Dr. William M. Jackson, Chemist, Prof. - Howard University
  4. Dr. William Guilory, Chemist, Prof. - Drexel University
  5. Dr. Henry C. McBay, Chemist, Prof. - Morehouse College
  6. Dr. Charles Merideth, Chemist, Chancellor, The Atlanta University Center, Inc.
  7. Dr. James Porter, Chemical Engineer, Prof. - MIT


Our Presidents

NOBCChE Presidents

After the first annual meeting held in in New Orleans in 1974 Dr. William Guillory was elected as the first President of NOBCChE. Since 1974, NOBCChE has had 14 presidents, 9 males, and 5 females.


Timeline of Early NOBCChE Milestones

  • 1972: An Ad Hoc Committee was formed with a grant of $850 provided by the Haas Community Fund and a $400 grant administered through Drexel University to look at the advancement of black chemists and chemical engineers
  • 1974: First NOBCChE Conference held in New Orleans
  • 1978: Graduate student participation begins with 2 MIT ChE grad students: Jennie Patrick, and Yaw Yeboth.
  • 1987: NOBCChE establishes first student fellowship sponsored by Eastman Kodak
  • 1989: First National Science Bowl held. Science Bowls continues to present.
  • 1993: Winifred Burks-Houck became the first female president of NOBCChE. Dr. Linda Meade -Tollin was first female National Chairperson; and Florence Smith was first female National Treasurer
  • 1995: National Planning Committee established to assume responsibility for Annual Meeting. Prior to this, Regions rotated the responsibility.
  • 1995: NOCCHE AM Technical Program exceeds 100 technical papers
  • 1998: NOBCChE establishes a national website: NOBCChE.ORG.

National Conferences

Since our initial conference, the NOBCChE conference has been bringing together, in one meeting, under-represented minority serving institutions, key federal agencies, and industries committed to the increase of diverse persons in STEM fields.


AM Year Site City, State National President Conference Program
1 1974 New Orleans, LA Dr. William Guillory  
2 1975 Washington, DC Dr. William Guillory  
3 1976 Atlanta, GA Dr. William Guillory  
4 1977 Chicago, IL Dr. William Guillory  
5 1978 Boston, MA Dr. William Guillory  
6 1979 Houston, TX Dr. William Guillory  
7 1980 Washington, DC Dr. William Guillory  
8 1981 Chicago, IL Dr. John B. Sapp, Jr.  
9 1982 New York, NY Dr. John B. Sapp, Jr.  
10 1983 Knoxville, TN Dr. John B. Sapp, Jr.  
11 1984 Houston, TX Dr. John B. Sapp, Jr.  
12 1985 Minneapolis, MN Dr. Edward D Walton  
13 1986 Atlanta, GA Dr. Edward D Walton  
14 1987 San Francisco Dr. Phillip Merchant  
15 1988 Philadelphia, PA Dr. Phillip Merchant  
16 1989 Chicago, IL Dr. Phillip Merchant  
17 1990 San Diego, CA Dr. James Evans  
18 1991 Washington, DC Dr. James Evans  
19 1992 New Orleans, LA Dr. James Evans  
20 1993 Indianapolis, IN Dr. James Evans  
21 1994 Atlantic City, NJ Winifred Burks-Houck   
22 1995 Los Angeles, CA Winifred Burks-Houck   
23 1996 Detriot, MI Winifred Burks-Houck   
24 1997 Orlando, FL Winifred Burks-Houck   
25 1998 Dallas, TX Winifred Burks-Houck   
26 1999 San Diego, CA Winifred Burks-Houck   
27 2000 Maimi, FL Winifred Burks-Houck   
28 2001 Baltimore, MD Winifred Burks-Houck   
29 2002 New Orleans, LA Ella L Davis  
30 2003 Indianapolis, IN Ella L Davis  
31 2004 San Diego, CA Dr. Marquita Qualls  
32 2005 Orlando, FL Dr. Marquita Qualls View
33 2006 Los Angeles, CA Dr. Joseph Francisco  View
34 2007 Orlando, FL Dr. Joseph Francisco  View
35 2008 Philadelphia, PA Dr. Victor McCrary View
36 2009 St. Louis, MO Dr. Victor McCrary View
37 2010 Atlanta, Georgia Dr. Victor McCrary View
38 2011 Houston, Texas Dr. Victor McCrary View
39 2012 Washington, DC Dr. Victor McCrary View
40 2013 Indianapolis, IN Dr. Judson Haynes III View
41 2014 New Orleans, LA Dr. Judson Haynes III View
42 2015 Orlando, FL Talitha Hampton View
43 2016 Raleigh, NC Talitha Hampton  
44 2017 Minneapolis, MN Dr. Emanuel Waddell  
45 2018 Orlando, FL Dr. Emanuel Waddell  
46 2019 St. Louis, MO Dr. Murrell Godfrey  
46 2020 Virtual Dr. Murrell Godfrey  
46 2021 Virtual Dr. Rena Robinson+