History of the Department

The Department of Chemistry of the University of Cincinnati was founded in 1874 under the leadership of its first chair, the Harvard-trained chemist, Frank Wigglesworth Clarke. It awarded its first BS degree to Helena Stallo in 1880, and its first MS degree to Miles Beamer the same year. Though the option of a doctoral degree was available from the start, it was not until 1905 that the first PhD was awarded to Harry Shipley Fry. The department was first housed in the basement of the original university building on the side of the Vine Street hill in Over-the-Rhine. In 1896 it moved, along with the university itself, to Burnet Woods, where, under the leadership of its second chair, Thomas Norton, it was housed in the original Hanna Hall and Hanna Annex. In 1916, under the leadship of its fourth chair, Lauder Jones, it moved, along with Chemical Engineering, into a new building (now known as Old Chemistry) on the Engineering Quad, where it remained until 1970, when, under the leadership of its ninth chair, Hans Jaffe, it moved to its present location in Rieveschl Hall and Crosely Tower. The previous chair, Anna Gudmundsdottir, was the 17th occupant to hold the position since the department's founding 132 years ago and was the first woman to become department head.  The current chair, Tom Beck, is the first computational chemist appointed to this position.