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Edward Leete Award


Purpose. To recognize outstanding contributions to teaching and research in Organic Chemistry

Nature. The award will be presented no more than biennially during the fall national meeting of the American Chemical Society. The Award consists of a $1500.00 cash prize. The winner of this award and of the Gassman Award are the only two awards actually selected by the Organic Division.

Establishment. The award is named in honor of Edward Leete who, through his contributions to science and education, fostered an appreciation and love for organic chemistry. The award was endowed by contributions from Professor Leete's students and colleagues.

Rules of Eligibility. Nominees must be members of the Organic Division of the American Chemical Society who have made outstanding contributions to both teaching and research. Teaching should be considered in the broadest sense, including of professional chemists, the dissemination of information about chemistry to prospective chemists, to members of the profession, to students in other areas and to the general public. A nominee must also have accomplished outstanding creative work in any area of organic chemistry. Nominations should emphasize both the nominee's teaching and research contributions.

A nomination document should include:

  1. A letter of not more than 1000 words containing an evaluation of the nominee's accomplishments and a specific identification of the work recognized.
  2. Up to two seconding letters, containing information not given in the letter of nomination, may be included. Nominations should emphasize the nominee's education contributions.
  3. A biographical sketch, including date of birth
  4. A list of publications and patents by the nominee.

All text should be at least 11 pt font. Nominations should be submitted as a single PDF file (Name the PDF file with candidate's name, for example: JessicaSmith-LeeteNomination.pdf) via the online Leete Award Nomination Form. Nominations for 2015 will likely be due April 1, 2015.

About Edward Leete (1928-1992)

Edward Leete Picture

Edward Leete was born on April 18, 1928 in Leeds, England. In 1948, he received the B.Sc. degree from the University of Leeds where he also completed the Ph.D. in 1950 with William Bradley in the organic chemistry of colors and dyestuffs. He was awarded a two-year Goldsmiths Company Traveling Fellowship, which he spent with the well-known French-Canadian alkaloid chemist, Leo Marion and with whom he continued until 1954 as a NRC Canada Postdoctoral Fellow in Ottawa. He began his academic career at UCLA as instructor, then assistant professor, and moved to the University of Minnesota in 1958 where he became full professor in 1963. Among his awards, are the first Phytochemistry Prize and Medal (1990) and University of Minnesota Distinguished Teaching Award (1976).

Beginning in his postdoctoral work at NRC, research on alkaloids became his career choice and passion which he followed with a consistent focus to answer the encompassing question: how do plants take the available amino acids and make such complex and variable structures as the alkaloids?  He pursued the field of “alkaloid biogenesis” with all methods available at that time: both radioactive and non-radioactive tracer analysis and NMR spectroscopy. His work was internationally recognized and appeared in some 250 publications. 

Eddie, as he was affectionately known to many, loved to teach and to work in the laboratory.  His classed were very large and frequently scheduled at 8 am by his choice so that he would have the rest of the day in the lab.  His lecture demonstrations are memorable: one fire-blowing demonstration at a chemistry banquet assured that the department was not invited to return next year.  He was a juvenile diabetic, which he compensated by being an accomplished marathon runner.  He was regularly seen jogging to work bearing a backpack.

Eddie Leete had the curiosity and naiveté of an outstanding scientist; spunky to him, every observation and discovery was a new delight. He radiated energy and optimism and was courageous to the end, which came on February 8, 1992 when he succumbed to brain cancer (taken in part from the eulogy by Wayland E. Nolan and the obituary published in Phytochemistry. Phytochemistry, 1992, 31, 3303-5)

For More Information see:
The University of Minnesota's Page on Ed Leete
Vitae
Eulogy by Wayland E. Noland

Previous Edward Leete Award Winners

The 2013 Award Presentation


Eric V. Anslyn (L) presented by Larry Scott

Year Awardee
2013 Eric V. Anslyn
2011 Jean A. Chmielewski
2009 Madeleine Joullie
2007 Michael P. Doyle
2005 David R. Williams
2003 Richard C. Larock
2001 Robert G. Bergman
1999 K. Peter C. Vollhardt
1997 No Award
1995 David N. Harpp