SUNY Old Westbury dean earns ACS fellowship

Chemical bond: Barbara Hillery (left), dean of SUNY Old Westbury's School of Arts and Sciences, is welcomed into the American Chemical Society Fellows Program by ACS Immediate Past President Allison Campbell.

A SUNY Old Westbury dean has joined the ranks of a select group of national scientists.

Barbara Hillery, dean of the college’s School of Arts and Sciences, has been chosen for inclusion in the 2018 American Chemical Society Fellows Program. Now in its 10th year, the ACS Fellows Program recognizes existing ACS members for “outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession and the ACS,” according to a statement issued this week by SUNY Old Westbury.

The new fellows were named this summer and celebrated at the ACS fall national meeting, held earlier this year in Boston. Only 51 scientists from around the world made the 2018 cut, according to SUNY Old Westbury.

The fellowship means “the wider scientific community” has recognized the efforts of the longtime scientist, according to SUNY Old Westbury President Calvin Butts III, who trumpeted the “many impacts she has made in her career as an educator and chemist.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand the impacts Dr. Hillery has made on our campus, from developing new STEM-related majors and enrolling the college’s first graduate students to increasing support for student and faculty research, and growing academic support services,” Butts said in a statement.

According to the ACS, Hillery was chosen for her “excellence in teaching, educational leadership and significant contributions to the measurement of ubiquitous anthropogenic environmental contaminants,” among other achievements.

Calvin Butts: Hillery has had an impact.

The Shirley resident, who is also a professor of chemistry, joined the SUNY Old Westbury faculty in 1997 and was named chairwoman of the Chemistry and Physics Department in 2003.

She rose to dean of the School of Arts and Sciences in 2012 (after serving two years as interim dean) and currently oversees 12 academic departments serving more than 4,000 students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in various disciplines.

Hillery has been honored with numerous teaching and service awards prior to being named an ACS Fellow, including a 2004 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2017, she was elected as a councilor for the ACS New York Section and participated in an environmental research project in the Amazon Rainforest including students of New Jersey’s Saint Peter’s University.

The freshly minted ACS Fellow, who has authored numerous publications, has received research support from the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others prestigious organizations.

She earned her PhD in analytical chemistry at American University and did her post-doctoral work in environmental chemistry at Indiana University-Bloomington. Hillery also earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Virginia.

Founded in 1876, chartered by the U.S. Congress and recognized as a leading publisher of authoritative scientific information, the ACS boasts 150,000-plus members from more than 140 countries. Its primary missions are to empower its membership, advance chemical sciences and inspire future generations of chemists in pursuit of new scientific solutions.


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