American Chemical Society, Chicago Section

Report of Spring 2003 Council Meeting
Held on March 26, 2003 at the La Louisianne Ballroom in the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA

By Barbara Moriarty...

The 225th National Meeting of the ACS was held in New Orleans, LA from March 23 - 27, 2003.  Attendance at this meeting was reported to be 14,576 people, including 11,705 meeting attendees, 1501 exhibitors, 629 exhibition only attendees and 741 guests. The Chicago section was fully represented by 13 councilors.   The councilors who attended for the section were: Roy H. Bible Jr., Cherlyn Bradley, Charles E. Cannon, David S. Crumrine, Nathaniel L. Gilham, Russell W. Johnson, Fran K. Kravitz, Thomas J. Kucera, Claude A. Lucchesi, Barbara E. Moriarty, Seymour H. Patinkin, Marsha Anne Phillips and Stephen Sichak.  Jim Shoffner was present at the meeting as a Director-at-Large, while Ellis Fields was present as a past president of the society.  Both Jim and Ellis are exofficio councilors.

Communication:  Communication is the main theme of President Reichmanis's year in office.  President Reichmanis reported that in her travels she hears from members that we need to communicate more often about the services that the Society provides, so that all members, young and old, can take advantage of these services.  In addition, as members of the ACS, we need to communicate with our policymakers on the benefits science brings to our country.  She urged all of us to enlist members for the Legislative Action Network (LAN) to bring our message to our US senators and congressman.

A number of symposia were held on communication.  One that was particularly interesting was entitled, "Funnel Vision: The Role of the Media in Science Communication."  At the New York meeting there will be a special symposium to be held on September 11, on what chemists can do to contribute to our country.

Governance:  The two candidates who will run for ACS President-Elect this fall were elected.  They are William F. Carroll, Jr. from Occidental Chemical Company and Michael E. Strem, from Strem Chemicals, Inc.  Both are members of the International Activities Committee.  The process by which councilors were introduced to the candidates for President-elect was changed at the New Orleans meeting.  In previous years, candidates went to all six district caucuses; at this meeting, they were introduced at a town meeting.  In this way, candidates only have to make one caucus presentation and each caucus can focus on its own business.  The town meeting format will also be used at the upcoming New York meeting.

In addition, the Director for District V will also be elected this fall.  The candidates announced at the Council meeting are Judith A. Benham and E. Ann Nalley.

The Chair of the Board of Directors, Nina McClelland, reported that the Board is continuing to deal with two major issues.  The first is the Strategic Plan for 2004 - 2006.  The second is the search for a new executive director, since John Crum will retire at the end of 2003.   They have chosen an Executive Search firm to facilitate this important task.

Division and Local Section Funding:  The major decision that was made by the Council at this meeting was to vote on a petition to change the way Divisions and Local Sections are funded.  The funding mechanism would be changed so that 20% of individual members' dues paid to the Society would go to funding Local Sections and Divisions.  The petition was passed by the two-thirds majority of the council required, and now must be voted on by the entire membership of the Society.  Click for more information on this issue.

Budget:  As reported in previous council reports, the Board of Directors voted last year to allow a budget deficit in 2002.  The net deficit for the society in 2002 was $1.5 million.  However, this was better than the expected deficit of $2.0 million, due to strong performance of meetings and CAS.  The society finances were negatively affected by investment losses and a drop in advertising revenue.

The Council voted to increase dues by the maximum allowed this year to $120.00.

Awards:  The Charles Lathrop Parsons Award was presented to Zafra Lerman of Columbia College, Chicago.  The Awards and Recognition Subcommittee of the on Local Section Activities Committee recommended that a new ChemLuminary Award be established for the "Best Activity Involving a Local Section-Division Interaction".

Education:  During President's Pearce's term of office, he challenged us to reinvent chemical education.  As part of a response to this challenge, there will be an invitational conference on June 6 entitled, "Exploring the Molecular Visions".  In New York, there will be symposia on National Security vs. Scientific Openness, Emerging Technologies:  Opportunities of Chemists in Chemical Sensors, and The Chemistry of Global Climate Change.

Senior Chemists:  One of the themes during Past President Eli Pearce's term of office was diversity.  In a recent message in Chemical and Engineering News he discussed his concept of a Silver Circle, to utilize the time and talents of our senior chemists.  Local Sections were urged to form Silver Circles.  The Committee on Local Section Activities has formed a Senior Chemists Working Group to determine ways to encourage local sections to form Senior Chemists Committees.

Outreach:   The Local Section Activities Committee (LSAC) reported that all 189 local sections participated in National Chemistry Week 2002 celebrations, with twice the press coverage of previous years.  The theme of the 2003 National Chemistry Week celebration would be "Celebrating Chemistry: Earth's Atmosphere and Beyond".  The theme for 2004 will be "The Chemistry of Health".

Since 1968, more than 6300 high school students have participated in Project SEED, a program offering economically disadvantaged students the opportunity to experience the challenges and rewards of chemically-related sciences.  For the 2003 summer research program, 93 institutions with mentors for 291 SEED I students and 39 institutions with 115 SEED II students have been approved.  In addition, 29 former SEED students were selected for 2003 SEED College Scholarships.  Forty Project SEED students presented posters at two separate poster sessions.  Two Project SEED students also presented their perspectives of the program in a panel discussion at the Committee on Minority Affairs' Presidential event.  This year marks Project SEED's 35th anniversary.  A symposium is one of the activities planned for the Fall 2003 National ACS meeting in New York.

The National Chemistry Week Task Force announced the theme for 2003 as "Earth's Atmosphere and Beyond" for the week of October 19-25.  The theme for 2004 will be based on the chemistry of health.

Membership Affairs:  As of 12/31/02, the Society's membership was 161,144, a decrease of 1.4%, compared to 12/31/01.  In 2003, members can renew their memberships on-line.  More than 9000 out of ~25,000 members took advantage of this option and renewed their membership on-line.  The addition of new and improved personal member benefits was discussed.  These personal benefits include new insurance benefits for auto, home and property coverage, as well as discounts for hotel rooms.  See the back of your membership card for some of these offerings.

Economic and Professional Affairs:  The efficiency improvements brought about by computerization continued in the National Employment Clearinghouse (NECH) at the New Orleans meeting.  Computers were decreased by 50%, printers by 90% and support staff decreased from 29 to 8.  There were 1151 job seekers, 96 employers with 303 jobs for 606 potential hires.  A new program offering an on-line career consulting program is being implemented.

Meetings:  As mentioned above, attendance at the National meeting was surprisingly good, but there was substantially more security at this meeting compared to past meetings.   Councilors were ask to stand if they knew anyone in the military.

Ethics:  The Council Policy Committee is exploring the possibility of the formation of a Committee on Ethics.

If you have any questions and/or comments about the above actions, please contact me by email ( or one of the other councilors.

(with help from Cherlyn Bradley, Dave Crumrine, and Marsha Phillips)