University of California, Riverside

Department of Chemistry

Department History


The First 30 Years of the UCR Chemistry Department : 1954-1984


This period of time includes the approval of the Chemistry program as part of the Physical Sciences Division at UCR, the approval of and formation of the independent UCR Chemistry Department in 1959, and the initiation and growth of the Graduate Program. At the end of this 30 year period, which also included the start of the Graduate Program in 1959, the Department held a 25th Anniversary Symposium that celebrated the 1959 approvals of the free standing Department and of the Graduate Program. Professor Donald T. Sawyer later provided more insight into this time period for the Department. silver

Oral History Interviews: Professors Helmkamp and Sawyer


The UC Riverside Oral History Project includes interviews of two of our earliest faculty members. Professor George Helmkamp was interviewed in 1978 (transcript). Professor Donald Sawyer was interviewed in 2001 and this transcript is also available.   Both offer valuable insight and knowledge about the early years of the campus and the Department. Professor Helmkamp passed away March 28, 2015 and the college memorial can be view here.  sawyer

2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Alumnus Richard R. Schrock

schrock medals The 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was shared by one of our 1967 UCR Chemistry major graduates - Professor Richard Schrock, the Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Schrock’s pioneering work in organometallic catalysis of olefin metathesis reactions led to this Nobel Prize. Professor Schrock was recognized as a Distinguished UCR Alumnus and was awarded the UCR Chancellor’s Medal in 2006. 

Grand Opening of the Chemical Sciences Building, December, 2005

The Chemistry Department celebrated the occupation of the new Chemical Sciences Building on December 2-3, 2005. This two day event included a reception, banquet and an Alumni Symposium. The Symposium included historical presentations of the pre-1970 years, the 1970 and later years and scientific presentations by faculty and alumni of the Department. cs


The 50th Anniversary of the Graduate Program in Chemistry


On June 17-19, 2010, the Chemistry Department celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Graduate Program with research presentations by faculty, and previous graduate students. A presentation of the previous history and current status of the Department was given by Professor Eric Chronister (Professor Chronister is shown here in unauthorized possession of the Helmkamp/UCR Mace!). cover


More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Department of Chemistry
Chemical Sciences
501 Big Springs Road

Tel: (951) 827-3789 (Chair's Assistant)
Fax: (951) 827-2435 (confidential)