On April 28, the OSSM Community excitedly welcomed Gerard “Ged” Parkin, D.Phil., Professor of Chemistry from Columbia University, as our esteemed 30th Anniversary speaker for the Senator Penny Williams Distinguished Lecture Series. Dr. Parkin toured labs, visited with students and faculty, and gave a highly academic lecture to OSSM students during the day. That evening, he visited with and delivered remarks to appreciative supporters at a reception and dinner event.
Senator Penny Williams is considered one of the “mothers” of OSSM. In tribute to her role as the sine qua non of OSSM, her friends and friends of the school began an endowment of these lectures to bring national and international figures in the arts and sciences to the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. The contribution of ideas of speaker like Dr. Parkin to our state’s intellectual milieu is the greatest and most appropriate gratitude we can offer to the memory of Senator Williams.
Dr. Parkin received his B.A., M.A., and D.Phil degrees from the Queen’s College, Oxford University, where he carried out research under the guidance of Professor Malcolm L. H. Green. In 1985, he moved to the California Institute of Technology as a NATO postdoctoral fellow to work with Professor John E. Bercaw. He joined the faculty of Columbia University as Assistant Professor in 1988 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1991 and to Professor in 1994. He served as Chairman of the Department from 1999 – 2002. He has also served as Chair of the New York Section of the American Chemical Society, Chair of the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalytic Science Section of the New York Section of the American Chemical Society, Chair of the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalytic Science Section of the New York Academy of Sciences, Chair of the Organometallic Subdivision of the American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry, and Chair of the Gordon Research Conference in Organometallic Chemistry.
Dr. Parkin shared two invigorating talks–“Determining the Structures of Molecules: A Critical Evaluation of the Data” with students and “The Important Roles of Metals: From Nature’s Enzymes to Catalysts for Converting Carbon Dioxide into Useful Chemicals and for Achieving the Hydrogen Economy” with our evening attendees.
We are so grateful for Dr. Parkin’s exciting visit and for all the donors who made this and other world class lectures possible through the Senator Penny Williams Distinguished Lecture Series Endowment!