ACS Richland Section

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Section History

Written by longtime member Richard Hermens

On January 1, 1948, a petition signed by 59 members was submitted to the council requesting authorization of a local section comprising Benton and Franklin counties to be known as the Richland Section. On February 23, ten more signatures were added, and when the charger was granted on April 18, 1948, the membership had grown to 102 members. Dr. R. L. Moore, one of the organizers of the petition, became the first chairman.

The source of the membership was, of course, the Hanford Project which produced and separated plutonium during World War II. During 1947 and the immediate years following, the project was reorganized, and the General Electric Company took over the operation of what was then called the Hanford Engineering Works with the goal of modernizing and expanding the operation. With the advent of a vigorous research program, the scientific staff increased rapidly and within three years the section reached a membership of 200, only slightly below what was to become the stable membership.

Although the bulk of the membership still represents the now diversified atomic energy related industry of the tri-city area, Richland, Pasco and Kennewick, Washington, the geographical area has increased, and an increasing number of members reside in areas further removed such as Yakima, Walla Walla, Washington and La Grande, Oregon.

The membership was drawn from all sections of the U.S., and it was only natural that a strong interest would develop in activities beyond the Hanford Project. In 1950, the Section was host for the Northwest Regional Meeting which developed into a very popular annual event.

By the time the chapter celebrated its 10th anniversary, it had brought to the scientific community over 100 outstanding technical speakers including many of national and international fame such as George Beadle, Wallace Brode, Melvin Calvin, Farrington Daniels, Paul Emmett, W. C. Fernelius. Joel Hildebrand, Ralph Miller, Linus Pauling, Isadore Perlman, Kenneth Pitzer, Glen Seaborg and Roger Williams. Subsequent years have continued to show lists outstanding scientific personalities as visitors and speakers for the section meeting.

The Richland Sections has always shown a strong interest in education. ACS members founded the science fair early in the fifties which now has grown to the regional Mid-Columbia Science Fair Association. Much effort, individual and collective, has been directed towards the encouragement of quality high school chemical programs in the area. At the time the Chapter was organized there were no post-secondary schools in the Section’s area. With the expanded geographical boundaries and the growth of the Tri-City area, there are now three four-year schools and four community colleges. The Richland section has organized a student affiliate chapter at one of the schools, Eastern Oregon State College in 1971 (now Eastern Oregon University).

The Section has sponsored a wide variety of activities for its membership. Included are membership coffees, especially directed towards new members and candidates, dinner meetings, “mini” symposia held in nearby communities, picnics and dances, and the Regional Meetings four of which have been held in Richland.

Of the charter members, about one fourth are still in the area, and many of those are still active in ACS activities.

It is impossible to list in this brief history the many individuals who have generously contributed countless hours to the Section and to the Society. Some of the members who made particularly significant contributions in the beginning years of the Section are:

  • Robert Lee Moore (a founder) – first Chairman and recent Councilor.
  • Winton Patnode (a founder) – long time Councilor.
  • Harry Kornberg (a founder) – first secretary.
  • Cornelius Groot (a founder) – By-Laws Chairman.
  • Dennis Pearce – Councilor and Building Drive Chairman.
  • Orvill Hill – Third Chairman and long-time Councilor.
  • Albert Bushey – 1950 Regional Meeting Chairman and Fourth Section Chairman.
  • Fred Leitz – Fifth Chairman.
  • Harold Schmidt – Sixth Chairman and a constant source of enthusiasm for ACS and Section activities.

To these individuals, to the Section Chairmen listed below, to the other officers and many individuals in committee positions, the scientific community of the Northwest owes a great deal.

A resumé of the first decade

From its inception at the organizational meeting on July 6, 1948, the Richland Section of the American Chemical Society has been responsible for bringing to the scientific community of the Southeastern Washington more than 100 outstanding technical speakers. Covering almost every conceivable subject related to chemistry, the roster of these speakers includes many of national and international fame such as George Beadle, Wallace Brode, Melvin Calvin, Farrington Daniels, Paul Emmett, W. C. Fernelius. Joel Hildebrand, Ralph Miller, Linus Pauling, Isadore Perlman, Kenneth Pitzer, Glenn Seaborg and Roger Williams. The opportunity to hear these men alone would be ample justification for the Section’s existence. Yet, additional services, equally significant, have been provided by the Section during its first ten years.

Opportunities were provided for twelve local technical people to report scientific accomplishments to their colleagues at regular Section meetings. Many more opportunities of this type were offered through the annual Regional Meetings, two of which were directly sponsored by the Section in Richland in 1950 and 1954. The 1950 meeting was attended by 325 delegates with some 80 papers being presented. In 1954, 257 registered and 62 papers were presented. A similar opportunity to display their scientific efforts has been provided to the students of the area through the medium of annual Science Fairs which have been partly sponsored by the Section. Leadership for the Science Fairs and workshops has been willingly provided from among the Section’s membership.

Columbia Basin high schools have been provided with equipment and lecturers to aid the science education of their students. The students themselves have been counseled vocationally by ACS members, and the inspired to higher achievements through locally sponsored ACS awards. A speaker’s bureau has provided technical speakers upon request to all parts of the state.

Finally, but far from least, the Section has fostered a feeling of friendship and cooperation among the chemists and chemical engineers of the area. Members have gathered for dinner meetings, picnics, smokers, and other social events on numerous occasions. Young people in the profession have been able to personal acquaintance with these people. The veterans on the other hand have had the pleasure and the thrill of seeing the youngsters develop and “fill their shoes” so to speak in managing the Section and advancing the profession.

During its ten-year history, the Richland Section began with 59 members and has varied in size as follows:

Charter Members59
January 1, 1949165
January 1, 1950187
January 1, 1951213
January 1, 1952251
January 1, 1953274
January 1, 1954261
January 1, 1955260
January 1, 1956248
January 1, 1957231
January 1, 1958226

All its achievements are not, of course, accomplishments of the “Section” as such. They are the results of efforts by its members, working collectively and individually. To complete this brief history without mention of those whose efforts made it possible would be, indeed, a disservice. Yet, to mention each and every one would be nearly impossible. Many have left the area. Many are now only beginning their contributions to the Society. Like any such list, it cannot be entirely objective. Perhaps it can inspire others to contribute as did the relatively small group whose names might be considered on a sort of “Honor Roll” of the Richland Section.

  • Robert Lee Moore (a founder) – first Chairman and recent Councilor.
  • Bernard Weidenbaum (a founder) – second Chairman
  • Winton Patnode (a founder) – long time Councilor.
  • Harry Kornberg (a founder) – first secretary.
  • Cornelius Groot (a founder) – By-Laws Chairman.
  • Dennis Pearce – Councilor and Building Drive Chairman.
  • Orvill Hill – Third Chairman and long-time Councilor.
  • Albert Bushey – 1950 Regional Meeting Chairman and Fourth Section Chairman.
  • R. E. “Curt” Curtis – longtime Membership Chairman and building drive Chairman.
  • Fred Leitz – Fifth Chairman.
  • Harold Schmidt – Sixth Chairman and a constant source of enthusiasm for ACS and Section activities.
  • Edwin Kinderman – Section officer and extensive committee service.
  • Roy Thompson – seventh Chairman.
  • William Carson – frequent speaker at Section meetings.
  • William DeHollander – eighth Chairman.
  • Milton Lewis – 1954 Regional Meeting Chairman and ninth Chairman.
  • Rubin Borasky – Science Fair Representative.
  • Lee Burger – Education Committee and tenth Chairman.
  • M. W. “Pat” Gift – extensive committee service
  • Harlan Anderson – Section officer and extensive committee service.
  • Ted Bierlein – Section officer and extensive committee service.
  • Raymond Burns – Section officer and Councilor.

To these and to many others, not mentioned by name, the scientific community of Southeastern Washington owes a debt of gratitude.

Area update

The following areas were added to the Richland Section on 9/15/70:

  • In Washington counties of Yakima and Klickitat were released by the Puget Sound Section.
  • Washington’s Grant county
  • Oregon counties of Union and Umatilla

Section Chairs

1948  Robert L. Moore
1949  Robert L. Moore
1949  Bernhardt Weidenbaum
1950  Bernhardt Weidenbaum
1950  Orville F. Hill
1951  Orville F. Hill
1952  Albert H. Bushey
1953  Fred J. Leitz
1954  Harold R. Schmidt
1955  Roy C. Thompson
1956  William R. Dehollander
1957  Milton Lewis
1958  Leland L. Burger
1959  Raymond E. Burns
1960  George J. Alkire
1961  Raymond H. Moore
1962  E. W. Christopherson
1963  M. K. Harmon
1964  Wilbert E. Keder
1965  Frederick A. Scott
1966  Charles A. Rohrman
1967  John R. Morrey
1968  Robert W. Stromatt
1969  Horace H. Hopkins
1970  Archie S. Wilson
1971  Milton H. Campbell
1972  Earl C. Martin
1973  Glen E. Benedict
1974  Walter D. Felix
1975  Jack L. Ryan
1976  Wayne L. Yunker (moved 4/22/77)
1977  Shirley J. Johnson
1978  Shirley J. Johnson
1979  Victor H. Smith
1980  James R. Chambers
1981  W. Eugene Skiens
1982  Larry G. Morgan
1983  Richard A. Hermens
1984  Daniel L. Herting
1985  Rebecca A. Bechtold
1986  Thomas A. Lane
1987  David B. Bechtold
1988  Denis M. Strachan
1989  James R. Jewett
1990  Leela M. Sasaki
1991  J. Douglas Campbell
1992  David G. Camp (II)
1993  Karen Grant
1994  James A. Campbell
1995  Richard B. Lucke
1996  Timothy L. Hubler
1997  Eric J. Wyse
1998  Samuel A. Bryan
1999  Anna G. Cavinato
2000  Stephen Krogsrud
2001  Brian M. Rapko
2002  Milton H. Campbell
2003  Janet L. Bryant
2004  Samuel A. Bryan
2005  Tom Jones
2006  William Samuels
2007  Jeffrey Woodford
2008  Novella N. Bridges
2009  Jonathan Male
2010  Asanga B. Padmaperuma
2011  Aruna Arakali
2012  David Heldebrant
2013  Frannie Skomurski
2014  Jo Marie Johnson
2015  Abhi Karkamar
2016  Ram Devanathan
2017  Vanda Glezakou
2018  Ram Devanathan
2019  Kristin Omberg
2020  Sandy Fiskum
2021  Mariefel Olarte


1948–1951 Winton I. Patnode
1952–1954 Dennis W. Pearce
1955–1969 Orville F. Hill
1970–1975 Robert Lee Moore
1976–1990 Milton H. Campbell
1991–1996 Rebecca A. Bechtold
1997–2007 Richard A. Hermens
2008–2010 Timothy L. Hubler
2011–2016 Richard A. Hermens
2017–present Anna Cavinato

Alternate Councilors

1948–51 Dennis W Pearce
1952–54 Frederic W. Albaugh
1955–57 Raymond E. Burns
1958–59 Cornelius Groot (moved 9/59)
1960 Milton Lewis (moved 8/60)
1961–63 Charles A. Rohrmann
1964–66 George J. Alkire
1967–69 Leland L. Burger (moved 9/69)
1970–71 Wilbert E. Keder
1972 John R. Morrey
1973–78 J. Douglas Campbell
1979–80 Richard A. Hermens
1981–82 William T. Winters
1983–85 Wayne H. Yunker (moved 6/5/86)
1986–90 Rebecca A. Bechtold
1991–93 William I Winters
1994–96 Richard A. Hermens
1997 Scott L. Wallen
1998–2006 Timothy L. Hubler
2017–present David Heldebrant

Program Chairs (or Vice Chairs)

1948  Wayne W. Marshall
1949  Orville F. Hill
1950  Orville F. Hill
1951  Albert H. Bushey
1952  Fred J. Leitz, Jr
1953  Harold R. Schmidt
1955  William R. Dehollander
1956  Milton Lewis
1957  Leland L. Burger
1958  Raymond E. Burns
1959  George J. Alkire
1960  Raymond H. Moore
1961  Edward W. Christopherson
1962  M. K. Harmon
1963  Wilbert E. Keder
1964  Frederick A. Scott
1965  Charles A. Rohrman
1966  John R. Morrey
1967  Robert W. Stromatt
1968  Horace H. Hopkins
1969  Archie S. Wilson
1970  Milton H. Campbell
1970  Milton H. Campbell
1971  Earl C. Martin
1972  Glen E. Benedict
1973  Walter D. Felix
1974  Jack L. Ryan
1975  Wayne H. Yunker
1976  William I.Winters
1977  Shirley J. Johnson
1978  Victor H. Smith
1979  James R. Chambers
1980  W. Eugene Skiens
1981  Larry G. Morgan
1982  Richard A. Hermens
1983  Daniel L. Herting
1984  Rebecca A. Bechtold
1985  Thomas A. Lane
1986  David B. Bechtold
1987  Denis M. Strachan
1988  James R. Jewett
1999  Leela M. Sasaki
1990  J. Douglas Campbell
1991  David G. Camp(II)
1992  Karen Grant
1993  James A. Campbell
1994  Richard B. Lucke
1995  Timothy L. Hubler
1996  Eric J. Wyse
1997  Samuel A. Bryan
1998  Anna G. Cavinato
1999  Stephen Krogsrud
2000  Brian M. Rapko
2001  Milton H. Campbell
2002  Janet L. Bryant
2003  Samuel A. Bryan
2004  Thomas Jones
2005  William Samuels
2006  Jeffrey Woodford
2007  Novella N.Bridges
2008  Jonathan Male
2009  Asanga B. Padmaperuma
2010  Aruna Arakali
2011  David Heldebrant
2012  Frannie Skomurski
2013  Jo Marie Johnson
2014  Abhi Karkamar
2015  Ram Devanathan
2016  Vanda Glezakou
2017  Ilke Arslan
2018  Kristin Omberg
2019  Sandy Fiskum
2020  Mariefel Olarte
2021  Cristina Padilla-Cintron

Section Secretaries

1948  Harry A. Kornberg
1949–50  Edwin M. Kinderman
1951  Raymond E. Burns
1952  Paul F. S. Dunigan
1953  Archie S, Wilson
1954  Theo K. Bierlain
1955  Raymond H. Moore
1956  H. T. Hahn
1957  Harlan J. Anderson
1958–59  Richard E. Nightingale
1959  M. F. Orr
1960  Wilbert E. Keder
1961  Robert W. Stromatt
1962  F. A. Scott
1963  Richard A. Schneider
1964  Milton H. Campbell
1965  J. P. Duckworth
1966  Jane L. Burdett
1967  John E. Mendel
1968  Donald Leroy Mendel
1969  Norman S. Wing
1970  Albert W. Lampton
1971  Frank P. Roberts
1972  Roy Ko
1973  Merrill C. Burt
1974  William I. Winters
1975  Garry H. Bryan
1976  Walter C. Weimer
1977  James R. Chambers
1978  Ellen L. Peterson
1979  Larry G. Morgan
1980  Thomas A. Lane
1981  Rebecca A. Bechtold
1982  Daniel L. Herting
1983–84  Carrie L. Matsuzaki
1985  William I. Winters
1986  Kim E. McCoy
1987  Barbara T. Halko
1988  Leela M. Sasaki
1989-90  Clement R. Yonker
1991  Charles J. Barinaga
1992  Eric J. Wyse
1993  Mona Y. Rampy
1994  Dennis W. Wester
1995  Clement R. Yonker
1996  Allison A. Campbell
1997  Andrea L. Prignano
1998  Therese R.W. Clauss
1999–00  Beverly A. Crawford
2001  Albert A. Kruger
2002–07  Bruce K. McNamara
2008–11  David Merrill
2012–17  Jan Frye
2018  Mariefel Olarte
2019–21  Shirmir Branch

Section Treasurers

1948  Howard E. Hanthorn
1949–50  Obie F. Amacker
1951  Milton Lewis
1952  George Sege
1953  Leland L. Burger
1954  Maurice B Leboeruf
(moved 11/54)
1954–55  Richard J. Brouns
1956  Arthur C. Case
1957  Henry R. Helmholz
(moved 12/57)
1957–58  Harry J. Zimmer
(moved 2/1/58)
1958  U. L. Upson
1959  H. J. Anderson
1960  Wallace W. Schulz
1961  D. E. Baker
1962  Victor H. Smith
1963  M. C. Lambert
1964  Lane A. Bray
1965  Glen E. Benedict
1966  Curtis A. Colvin
1967  Earl C. Martin
1968  Wilbur Orme Greenhalgh
1969  Merrill C. Burt
1970  Ronald E. Lerch
1971  Donald S. Thurman
1972  Daniel G. Carter
1973  Wayne L. Delvin
1974  Wayne H. Yunker
1975  Gary S. Barney
1976  Jerry A. Partridge
1977  Sue L. Sutter
1978  Gary F. Schiefelbein
1979  Berta L. Thomas
1980  Glenda E. Brown
1981  Joel N. Gessele
1982–83  David B. Becktold
1984  Richard P. Colburn
1985  Allan G. Miller
1986–87  Leela M. Sasaki
1988  Barbara T. Halko
1989–90  Andrea L. Prignano
1991  Joel M. Tingey
1992  Mudan Chow
1993  Charles J. Barinaga
1994  Timothy L. Hubler
1995–96  Bruce D. Lerner
1997–98  Lawrence E. Bowman
1999–01  Dennis W. Wester
2002–03  Ronald B. Kelley
2004  Samuel A. Bryan
2005  Jeffrey Woodford
2006  Sam Bryan
2007  Dennis W. Wester
2008  Brian Rapko
2009-12  Phillip Koech
2013-14  Satish Nune
2015-18  Sandy Fiskum
2019-21  Deepika Malhotra

Northwest regional meetings hosted by the Richland Section

  • June 9–10, 1950 at Columbia High School, Richland, WA
  • June 11–12, 1954 at Columbia High School, Richland, WA
  • June 16–17, 1960 at Columbia High School, Richland, WA
  • June 1974 at Tower Inn Hotel, Richland, WA
  • June 12–14, 1991 at Eastern Oregon State College (now University) 
  • June 17–20, 1998 at Columbia Basin College, Pasco, WA
  • June 17–20, 2007 at Boise Centre on the Grove, Boise, ID
  • June 24–27, 2018 at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.