Western Maryland College and Dr. Richard H. Smith, a WMC professor of chemistry, have received a $60,000 grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Scholar/Fellow Program.
JTC The grant is one of eight given annually to colleges and universities across the country.
Dr. Smith, who will act as a Dreyfus Scholar in administering the grant program, will oversee a search for a postgraduate student in chemical science or engineering to begin a teaching and research career at Western Maryland College.
The candidate recruited for this position, to be known as a Dreyfus Fellow, will be named by next spring, with the appointment to begin in September.
OC This marks the first time Western Maryland has received such an
award, which places the college in company with California State University-Fullerton, Grinnell College, Occidental College and four others.
With approximately 1,200 undergraduates, WMC is the smallest institution to receive an award from the 3-year-old Dreyfus Scholar/Fellow program this year.
"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to teach a teacher," Dr. Smith said after he heard from the Dreyfus Foundation that his request for a fellowship had been approved. "This is the greatest life anyone could have -- to be a teacher and researcher -- and to share what I know with somebody else is just fantastic."
Sylvia Ware, director of education at the American Chemical Society in Washington, said awards such as the Dreyfus are significant because they confirm the value of good science teaching.
"[The Dreyfus] recognizes the importance of scholarship in science by teaching at the undergraduate level, rather than only by research for journals," Ms. Ware said.
According to statistics compiled by the National Center for Education, of the approximately 2,700 students nationwide who were employed after receiving their bachelor's degrees in chemistry in 1990, only 3 percent took jobs as high school chemistry teachers.
In the past five years, more than 70 percent of Western Maryland's 23 chemistry graduates have gone on to graduate and professional schools. Other chemistry graduates have pursued careers in nursing, teaching or in the armed forces.
With a curriculum certified by the American Chemical Society, Western Maryland's chemistry department offers both a major and minor.
Chemistry undergraduates regularly participate in research projects with their professors and publish their results in professional journals. They also conduct internships in laboratory and research settings designed to prepare them for careers as scientists, teachers or physicians.
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation was established in 1946 by inventor, chemist and businessman Camille Dreyfus as a memorial to his brother, Henry. It became a memorial to both men when Camille died in 1956.
The brothers, born and educated in Switzerland, made significant strides in the scientific and commercial development of synthetic fibers, including artificial silk.
Their work led to the creation of companies in Britain, Canada and the United States, and together they were awarded more than 300 patents.
In establishing the foundation, Camille Dreyfus directed that it must "advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering and related studies as a means of improving human relations and circumstances around the world."
Dr. Smith, a member of the Western Maryland faculty since 1973, has been a visiting scientist at the National Cancer Institute's research facility in Frederick since 1980. His work on substances that could contribute to the fight against cancer led to two National Science Foundation grants.
He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Washington College in 1966 and a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Virginia in 1970.
He has been singled out twice for Special Achievement recognition from Western Maryland, and five times has received the college's Scholarly Publication honor for his work in scientific journals.