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Edward Leete Award

Leete Award Nomination Deadline is May 1, 2017

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. Primary Nomination of not more than 750 words containing an evaluation of the nominee's accomplishments and a specific identification of the work recognized.
  2. Up to two seconding letters (each not more than 400 words), 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 the 2017 award are be due May 1, 2017.

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
Eulogy by Wayland E. Noland

Previous Edward Leete Award Winners

The 2015 Award Presentation:
Jeffrey Moore (R) presented by Donna Huryn

Year Awardee
2015 Jeffrey Moore
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

Jeffrey Moore

jeff2013 Jeffrey Moore received his B.S. in chemistry (1984) and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering with Samuel Stupp (1989), both from the University of Illinois. He then went to Caltech as an NSF postdoctoral fellow working with Robert Grubbs. In 1990, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and then in 1993 returned to UIUC where he is currently the Murchison-Mallory Chair in the Department of Chemistry. He has published over 300 articles covering topics from technology in the classroom to self-healing polymers, mechanoresponsive materials and shape-persistent macrocycles. Jeff’s excellence in scientific research and teaching are recognized with several awards. He received the UIUC Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and has been recognized as a “Faculty Ranked Excellent by their Students.” In 2014, he was selected as an HHMI Professor. Jeff is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Chemical Society.

Professor Moore’s approach to teaching and research embody the qualities of the Award namesake, Edward Leete. His work has benefited hugely from the synergy between teaching and research. For example, the inspiration for Jeff’s mechanophore concept came from re-learning pericyclic reactions for a sophomore organic course directly leading to the idea that mechanical force may be able to bias reaction pathways. This endeavor ultimately found itself on the cover of “Nature.” When asked for comments, Jeff responded “Thousands of students pass through our organic chemistry classrooms each year. For many, ours may be their last formal course in chemistry. We shouldn’t miss the opportunity to send them away with an amazing appreciation about how our subject will impact their lives.”