Outreach and Education Division

    The EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIVISION supports chemistry education at all levels, including K-12, college, and adult/continuing education. It maintains liaisons to the Chicago Public Schools and the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT). The Division engages the general public in chemistry-related educational activities, participates in ACS activities at the annual Illinois State Fair, and publicizes all events and news-related content. The division oversees the annual Project SEED program for the Section as well as the Project SEED scholarships. The Division also assists public officials and other community bodies concerning chemistry-related matters. The Education and Outreach Division includes the Education, Outreach, Project SEED, and Public Affairs Committees.

    The EDUCATION COMMITTEE provides chemistry-related educational programs and information to learners of all ages and actively engages with educators at the pre-K-12 and college levels. Subcommittees include:

    • AACT Liaison
    • College Education Subcommittee
    • Continuing Education Subcommittee
    • Chicago School Board Liaison
    • K - 12 Education Subcommittee


    The PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ensures that section members and public officials and bodies are informed of matters where the knowledge and practice of chemistry is of substantial public importance. These matters can include government issues, environmental issues and the social responsibility of chemists. The Public Affairs Committee gives the Public Affairs Award biennially.

    The OUTREACH COMMITTEE engages the general public, educators and children in chemistry-related educational activities and participates in many different types of events around the greater Chicago area.   Subcommittees include:

    • Community Activities Subcommittee
    • Illinois State Fair Subcommittee


    PROJECT SEED COMMITTEE identifies interested low-income and/or minority high school junior and senior students who are interested in participating in a paid summer research experience with  a college or university faculty member.  It supports financial and logistical concerns for the student/ faculty relationships and communicating  relevant program information to the national ACS organization.  The committee is also responsible for distributing Project SEED awards to support the internships. 

    Dr. Percy Julian

    Creator of 130+ patents, entrepreneur, pioneer of industrial-scale synthesis of human hormones, renowned expert on making drugs from plants, and first African-American chemist to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Chicagoan Dr. Percy Lavon Julian caps off our celebration of #blackhistorymonth!

    Born 1899 and earning his PhD from Universität Wien in 1931, in 1936 Julian was offered a professorship at DePauw University, but when he arrived they rescinded it because they were "unaware he was a negro". Ironically, they apparently forgot he graduated as DePauw's valedectorian in 1920.

    But Glidden then hired him to be Director of Research in Chicago for their new Soy Products Division. There, he supervised construction of the new factory/lab where he and his teams developed methods to isolate and modify soy proteins for use in paint and fire extinguishers. For saving thousands of sailors' lives from fire, the NAACP awarded him the Spingarn Medal, its highest honor.

    In 1957, Julian, who had moved to Oak Park, Illinois as its first African-American resident, left Glidden to start his own company, Julian Laboratories in Franklin Park, Illinois. There, he and his teams developed new methods of efficiently making industrial quantities of human hormones such as hydrocortisone, prednisone, and progesterone from plant sources. In 1961 he responded to market conditions and sold the company for a profit that enabled him to establish Julian Associates and the Julian Research Institute in 1964. He died in 1975.

    Julian's legacy is commemorated in many ways. 
    * The American Chemical Society recognized his synthesis of physostigmine with a Nationcal Chemical Historical Landmark in 1999.
    * Chicago Public Schools named Percy L. Julian High School after him in 1975 
    * Oak Park named Percy Julian Middle School for him in 1985.  
    • DePauw University, in a possible act of contrition, renamed their science and math building after him, and its host city, Greencastle, Indiana, named a street after him. 
    • He was on a US Postal Service stamp in 1993
    * He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990. 
    * Other buildings and awards across the country bear his name.

    Dr. Percy Julian will always stand as one of the world's greatest chemists, and we're proud he made Chicagoland his home. 

    Learn more about him at: