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. 

    Chicago ACS' Historical Milestones

    1887 Chicago Chemical Society founded.
    1892 Chicago Chemical Society becomes affiliated with Chicago Academy of Sciences.
    1895 Chicago Section of the ACS is chartered on March 15, 1895. Section membership is 34.
    1907 At the 37th National Meeting of the Society, Max Henius presided at the Sherman Hotel.
    1911 First Willard Gibbs Medal awarded. First Section directory is published.
    1914 The Chemical Bulletin is founded by Otto Eisenshimil. Section operating deficit is underwritten by individual members in 1914 and 1915.
    1916 Inauguration of Section dues. Section membership is 551.
    1920 A surplus of $5,000 from sponsorship of the 60th National ACS meeting becomes the nucleus of a convention fund, fore-runner of reserve funds of the Section. Section membership is 892.
    1921 The group meeting system starts by Paul Nicholas Leech.
    1923 A part-time office to handle Chemical Bulletin is located at Schaar and Company is begun.  Part-time secretarial help is also authorized for the Employment Committee, and is variously located at Wilson Laboratories, Dearborn Chemical Company, and Schaar and Company.
    1924 A drive for a $20,000 Endowment Fund is launched under the direction of B. B. Freud.
    1926 The Section and the University of Chicago cooperate in providing continuation courses in  chemistry and related subjects during evening hours and on a graduate level.
    1928 The Chicago Section is incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation April 5, with extensive revisions in the bylaws, provision of a Board of Directors, and other changes.
    1929 Full time secretarial help is provided for Section business, with Olga Wagbo as first section employee.  Office moved from Schaar and Company to space provided by the Chicago Chemists Club in City Club.
    1932 Headquarters moves to Midland Club. Section membership is 1,022.
    1934 Section Office and Chemists Club move to Stevens Hotel.
    1939 First Chicago Section radio program starts. Section membership is 1,540.
    1940 First National Chemical Exposition (NCE) held at Stevens Hotel under chairmanship of Roy C. Newton; Marcus W. Hinson was manager.
    1942 Second NCE held; Victor Conquest as chairman. Section Office moves to Medinah Club when Stevens Hotel is taken over by the Army. Section membership is 2,053.
    1944 Exposition moves to Coliseum and held there until 1945. M.H. Arveson, chairman, introduces Trail Blazers and famous vocational guidance booklet, “The Chemist and Chemical Engineer in Industry.”
    1945 Section Office moves to Fine Arts Building. Meetings held at Furniture Club.  Section membership is 2,627.
    1946 Chicago Chemical Library Foundation starts in cooperation with Chicago Chemists Club Section Office is now in Pure Oil Building.
    1947 Board of Exposition Trustees created to supervise expositions.
    1949 Headquarters moves to Crerar Library building and a Section Manager is employed. Section membership is 3,744.
    1950 Section participates in first TV show and sponsors first Undergraduate Symposium in Chemistry at Roosevelt College. National Chemical Exposition is incorporated as a not for profit corporation in the State of Illinois.
    1955 High School Scholarship Examinations starts. Section membership is 4,281.
    1958 First all-day Chemistry Teachers Conference—held at DePaul University.
    1963 Reactivation of strong special-interest groups by Program Committee.
    1964 Section resumes sponsorship and control of new evening lecture series.
    1967 Annual Safety Conference starts. Section membership is 5,340.TRAIL BLAZERS OF CHEMISTRY is registered as a Service Mark to the Chicago Section.CHEM SHOW NEWS is registered as a Trademark to the Chicago Section.
    1969 Section membership is 5,594.
    1972 Marshall S. Smoler Award established and is given annually to the highest scoring Chicago Public High School Student on the Scholarship Exam.
    1973 Public Affairs Committee of the Chicago Section starts.
    1974 Distinguished Service Award of the Chicago section is established.
    1975 The Section received an ACS Local Section Membership Promotion Award.
    1976 The 75th Anniversary of the Chicago Section.
    1979 Section Membership is 5,676.
    1981 The Section’s Office relocates to 59 East Van Buren Street.
    1982 The Public Affairs Award is established by the Section’s Public Affairs Committee.
    1985 Chicago Section hosts the 190th ACS National Meeting.
    1986 The Section’s first annual Chemistry Day.
    1987 The Section receives “The Best Large Section” award.
    1990 The Section wins award for Outstanding Large Section.
    1991 The Section’s office moves to 7173 N. Austin, Niles, IL. Section wins a Phoenix Award for Best Intersectional Cooperation during National Chemistry Week –(the Chicago and Rock River Sections jointly sponsored Chemistry Day activities).
    1992 “CHEM SHORTS” For Kids is started as a regular feature in the Chemical Bulletin.
    1993 The Section wins the very first Public Relations Award for “outstanding activities in all areas of public outreach.” The section hosts the 206th ACS National Meeting.
    1994 Section membership is 5,684.  The Marie Ann Lishka Memorial Scholarship Award is established and given to the highest scoring female high school student.
    1995 The Section celebrates its Centennial.  The Section’s Job Club starts.  The Section is co-winner with the Philadelphia Section for the ACS Award for Outstanding Performance by a Large Section and winner of a Phoenix Award for “Best Event in a Museum or Library.”
    1996 UOP’s Riverside Laboratory officially designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark, Section starts a Kids & Chemistry program.
    1999 Section receives a Phoenix Award for activities with underrepresented minority students.  Section membership is 5,836.
    2000 Ron Sykstus retires as the Section’s long-time Business Manager and Executive Director. Gayle O’Neill, TEI Analytical, accepts position as Business Manager.  Henrietta Z. Freud bequest is received for the purpose of supporting Section operations.  Section membership is 5,515.
    2001 Rachel L. Smoler estate provides a bequest to endow the Marshall S. Smoler Memorial Award by Rachel L. Smoler scholarship fund in memory of her brother. Section hosts 222nd ACS National Meeting. Section member ship is 5,475.
    2002 Section hires Gail Wilkening as Office Manager.
    2002 Section wins ChemLuminary Award for Best Overall Local Section Committee on Minority Affairs.
    2003 Section wins ChemLuminary Award: Local Section/Division Interaction Award.
    2003 Section wins ChemLuminary Award: Local Section Outstanding Performance Award. VeryLarge Section Category.
    2008 Section wins ChemLuminary Award: Committee of Public Relations and Communications: Outstanding Continuing Public Relations Program of a Local Section.
    2009 Chicago Section Office moves to 1400 Renaissance Drive, Suite 312, Park Ridge, IL.
    2009 Section wins ChemLuminary Award: Committee on Local Section Activities; Outstanding Performance by a Local Section, Very Large Section.
    2010 Section membership is 4,546.
    2011 100th Gibbs Medal is presented to Dr. Robert Bergman, UC Berkeley