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Paul G. Gassman Distinguished Service Award

Purpose. To recognize outstanding service to the organic chemistry community.

Nature. The award consists of $3,000 and a plaque. The award will be presented no more than biennially at the Fall executive committee dinner in even-numbered years. Travel expenses to attend the national meeting will also be provided.

Establishment. The award was established in 1994 with financial help from the Bayer Corporation's Pharmaceutical Division, located in West Haven, CT, and Bayer's Polymer and Materials Divisions, located in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2007, The award was endowed by the Midwest Pharmaceutical Process Chemistry Consortium with a supporting contribution from the Division of Organic Chemistry. The winner of this award and of the Leete Award are the only two awards actually selected by the Organic Division.

Professor Frank Davis Receives the 2012 Gassman Award from Dr. Rob Larsen, 2012 Organic Division Chair. Photo by Paige Ozaroski

Rules of Eligibility. Nominees must be long-standing members of the Organic Division of the American Chemical Society who through their contributions to the organic chemical community in the United States have significantly enhanced the welfare of its members. Contributions to the American Chemical Society and/or the Organic Chemistry Division, including significant accomplishments in the management and function of the ACS that impact the environment of organic chemistry, leadership and innovation in the Division, and conspicuous service on behalf of organic chemists are appropriate considerations.

Nominations. Nominations should emphasize the candidate's service contributions. The nomination letter (2 pages max, with minimum font size 11pt), seconding letters (up to five, 1 page each, with minimum font size 11pt), and the candidate's C.V. should be submitted as a single PDF file via the online form (please name the PDF file with the candidate's name (for example: JohnSmith-GassmanNomination.pdf).

Deadline: The due date for the 2016 award nominations will be due in late March 2016.

About Paul G. Gassman (1935-1993)

Paul Gassman was born June 22, 1935 in Alden, New York, son of Joseph Martin Jasmine and Florence Marie Rautenstrauch Gassman, of German Swiss parentage. In 1957, he graduated with a B.S. degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. He received his Ph.D. in 1960 from Cornell University, where he worked with Prof. Jerrold Meinwald, and continued as a postdoctoral fellow during 1960 before beginning an appointment as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Ohio State University, moving to theUniversity of Minnesota as a Professor in 1974. He served the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry as a member of the Executive Committee (1976-88), Chairman-elect (1980), Chairman (1981), and Councilor (1983-1988). He also served as the ACS President for 1990.


Paul Gassman's research was centered in the area of organic reaction mechanisms, and focused on mechanisms of catalysis (including hydrocarbon metathesis), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, chemistry of highly strained molecules, neighboring group participation in carbocation chemistry, cycloaddition reactions, enzyme mechanisms, organoelectro-chemistry, carbanion chemistry, synthesis of heterocyclic molecules, oxidation of hydrocarbons, nitrenium ion chemistry, and electron-transfer reactions. The work resulted in over 300 publications in scientific journals, 32 patents, and 11 books in which he is listed as an editor, and provided training for 72 Ph.D. and 13 M.S. students, as well as dozens of postdoctoral fellows and a number of undergraduate researchers. At the age 57, Paul Gassman was at home on the evening of April 17, 1993 when he suffered a torn aorta. The following day he underwent emergency open-heart surgery, but suffered irreversible brain damage and never regained consciousness. He died on April 21, 1993. (Taken in part from the University of Minnesota's Senate Minutes.)
Paul G. Gassman Distinguished Service Award Winners
Year Awardee University
2014 Amos B. Smith, III University of Pennsylvania
2012 Franklin A. Davis Temple University
2010 Peter Stang University of Utah
2008 Carl R. Johnson Wayne State University
2006 Ronald C. Breslow Columbia University
2004 Clayton H. Heathcock University of California, Berkeley
2002 William R. Roush University of Michigan
2000 Peter Beak University of Illinois
1998 Michael P. Doyle University of Maryland
1996 Norman A. LeBel Wayne State University
1994 Nelson Leonard University of Illinois