Catherine Hunt

Catherine Hunt will deliver the Helen Murray Free lectures on April 26 at The College of Wooster (Photo courtesy of Peter Cutts Photography)


Dow Chemical Representative to Present Helen Murray Free Lectures

Catherine Hunt to speak at The College of Wooster on April 26

March 29, 2012 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Catherine Hunt, research and development director of innovation sourcing and sustainable technologies at The Dow Chemical Company, will be the featured speaker for the annual Helen Murray Free Lectures at The College of Wooster next month.

Hunt will present a technical lecture titled, “It's all about Chemistry: Science for a Sustainable World!,” on Thursday, April 26, at 11 a.m. in Room 009 of Severance Hall (943 College Mall). She will then present a public lecture titled, “Bridging the Gap, Transforming the Future: Education, Collaboration, Innovation!,” that evening (7:30 p.m.), also in Room 009 of Severance Hall. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Highly regarded for her ability to build federally funded technology partnerships across industry, academia, and national labs, Hunt began her career as a senior scientist in analytical research at Rohm and Haas in 1984 after completing an NIH (National Institutes of Health) Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University. A graduate of Smith College, where she earned a degree (Cum Laude) in chemistry, Hunt went on to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Davis.

During her career, Hunt served as president of the American Chemical Society (ACS), where she championed education, collaboration, and innovation, especially in relation to the sustainability of energy, food, and water. She also served on numerous advisory boards and received many honors, including her selection as one of the “Best 50 Women in Business” in Pennsylvania by then Governor Rendell in 2007. In addition, she was part of the inaugural class of Fellows for the ACS (2010) and is a Fellow of AAAS (Advancing Science, Serving Society).

Helen Murray Free is a 1945 College of Wooster graduate and an inductee into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame. Her research in clinical chemistry not only revolutionized diagnostic testing in the laboratory, but also in the home. She developed the "dip-and-read" glucose tests for diabetics, and she was awarded seven patents for her clinical diagnostic test inventions. She also helped to develop a product for diagnosing Hepatitis-A while working for Miles Laboratories.

An advocate for science education, Free chaired the American Chemical Society's (ACS) National Chemistry Week Task force from 1987 to 1992, and was elected president of the ACS in 1993. She has authored more than 150 professional articles, and co-authored two widely used textbooks in the field. In addition, she was chosen as one of Wooster’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners and received the ACS Garvan Medal in 1980. She was also honored in 1995 by the establishment of the ACS Helen M. Free Public Outreach Award, which recognizes a society member who improves public recognition and appreciation for the contributions of chemistry. In 2010, the ACS designated the development of diagnostic test strips as a national historic chemical landmark. That same year, Free was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama.

The Helen Murray Free Endowment was established by her children through the Al and Helen Free Foundation. Income from the Fund brings a renowned practitioner in the chemical sciences (materials science, nanotechnology, and molecular biology) to the campus each year. This scientist interacts with chemistry students at a technical level and also presents an open lecture about the contributions of science to the quality of life.

Additional information about the lectures is available by phone (330-263-2418) or e-mail.