Emeritus chemistry professor establishes lectureship

It was during the Blizzard of 1977, just after chemistry professor Albert Padwa had just spent four days trapped in his department with other faculty and students at the State University of New York, when he got a call from Emory University.

It was the chairman of the chemistry department at Emory College inviting Padwa to interview for the William Patterson Timmie Chair of Chemistry. Padwa traveled to Atlanta the next week, where he found mild weather and a university eager to grow its capacity and reputation in chemistry research.

Padwa joined the faculty as Timmie Professor in 1979. He has had a major hand in recruiting every senior faculty member in the chemistry department and has advised more than 250 graduate research students and postdoctoral research fellows. In addition, all four of his children—Bonnie Padwa 83C, Jeffrey Padwa 85C, Carolyn Padwa 85OX 87C, and Aaron Walsh Padwa 12C—are Emory alumni.

In his time at Emory, Padwa has won a number of national awards, and he was named the Emory University Teacher/Scholar in 1988. He also has been a visiting professor and lecturer at universities across the country and in Germany, France, England, and China. He retired in 2013 and became an emeritus professor of chemistry. That same year he took advantage of the opportunity to make a rollover gift from his IRA through MyEmory to establish the Albert Padwa Lecture Fund in the Chemistry Department at Emory College.

“The frontiers of science are not just being challenged here at Emory. It is important for students to be able to see people from elsewhere and to pick up the enthusiasm and passion of very motivating speakers,” Padwa says. “I can’t think of a better way to reach out to new generations of students.”