Endowed Chairs: Ensuring Faculty Excellence

Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty are among the most creative and accomplished scientists in numerous areas of discovery. Their groundbreaking research is often supported by our departmental endowed chairs, which have been generously established by our donors.

UCLA DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY & BIOCHEMISTRY ENDOWED CHAIRS
Paul D. Boyer Professorship in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Donald J. and Jane M. Cram Chair in Organic Chemistry
Dr. Myung Ki Hong Endowed Chair in Polymer Science
Dr. Myung Ki Hong Endowed Chair in Materials Innovation
Michael & Alice Jung Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery
John McTague Career Development Chair
Howard Reiss Career Development Chair
John D. and Edith M. Roberts Term Chair in Organic Chemistry
Kenneth N. Trueblood Endowed Chair in Chemistry & Biochemistry
Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry
Linda and Fred Wudl Term Chair
Jeffrey and Helo Zink Endowed Professional Development Chair in Chemistry
 
CHEMISTRY & BIOCHEMISTRY FACULTY HOLDING UC PRESIDENTIAL CHAIRS
Presidential chairs are created by the Chancellor's office and approved by the Office of the President to honor UCLA's most accomplished faculty. 
Professor Michael Jung - UC Presidential Chair in Medicinal Chemistry
Professor Paul Weiss  - UC Presidential Chair in Chemistry
 
PAUL D. BOYER PROFESSORSHIP IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY
The Paul D. Boyer Professorship in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry was established in 2009 by a very generous gift from Joan and James B. Peter. The Peter family named the chair in honor of Nobel Laureate Professor Paul Boyer (1918-2018), founding director of the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute, and James Peters’ Ph.D. advisor at the University of Minnesota. Peters moved to UCLA with Boyer in 1963 and subsequently joined the UCLA faculty. The Boyer Chair provides research support for a named faculty member in the fields of molecular biology and biochemistry. Professor David Eisenberg is the current chair holder. 
 
DONALD J. AND JANE M. CRAM CHAIR IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
The Donald J. and Jane M. Cram Chair in Organic Chemistry was endowed by the late Professor Donald Cram (1919-2001), a UCLA faculty member for more than 50 years. Cram received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Rollins College in 1941, his master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1942, and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University in 1947. Cram was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with John D. Roberts. Cram was the originator of Cram's rule, which provides a model for predicting the outcome of nucleophilic attack of carbonyl compounds. He was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Jean-Marie Lehn and Charles J. Pedersen.  Professor Patrick Harran is the current chair holder.
 
CHRISTOPHER S. FOOTE TERM CHAIR
Professor Christopher S. Foote (1935-2005) was a UCLA faculty member for 43 years before he passed away in 2005. A world leader in the field of physical organic chemistry, Foote made the groundbreaking discovery of the role of singlet oxygen in reactions of organic molecules caused by sunlight and ultraviolet light, which led to important findings about why molecular oxygen is essential to life processes and a major agent of biological damage. Foote earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1957 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1962 and he joined the UCLA faculty that same year. As co-author of the widely-used organic chemistry textbook familiarly known as "Brown and Foote", Foote influenced thousands of undergraduate students worldwide. Foote’s widow, Professor Judith Smith, Founding Dean of UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music, continues to be a supporter of the department. The Foote Chair was endowed in 1990 by Dean M. Willard, Michael Sekera, and Ta Yen Cheng. Professor Juli Feigon is the current chair holder.
 
DR. MYUNG KI HONG ENDOWED CHAIRS IN MATERIALS INNOVATION AND IN POLYMER SCIENCES
The Dr. Myung Ki Hong Chair in Materials Innovation and the Dr. Myung Ki Hong Endowed Chair in Polymer Sciences were established in 2016 through a gift from Dr. Myung Ki Hong and his wife, Lorrie Hong. Hong came to the United States from South Korea in 1954 as an exchange student and graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1959. He then worked at Whittaker Coatings for 22 years. In 1986, he founded DuraCoat Products, and serves as its chairman. The company distributes industrial coatings in the U.S. and internationally. Hong was the recipient of the UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry 2015 Alumni Award. When establishing the chairs, Hong said, “As a proud Bruin, I am delighted to give back to the university and the department that gave me the foundation for my success.” Professor Richard Kaner and Professor Heather Maynard are the current chair holders. 
 
MICHAEL & ALICE JUNG ENDOWED CHAIR IN MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY AND DRUG DISCOVERY
The Michael & Alice Jung Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery was established by a gift in October 2016 from UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty member Professor Mike Jung and his wife Alice Jung. Jung is a worldwide leader in the field of synthetic organic chemistry. His breakthrough anti-prostate cancer drug Xtandi has extended the lives of men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. The revenue from this blockbuster drug has enabled the department to match all endowments in the department. The purpose of the endowed chair is to enable UCLA to hire a faculty member who will conduct drug discovery research with the goal of producing new, life-saving drugs well into the future. 
 
JOHN MCTAGUE CAREER DEVELOPMENT CHAIR
Professor John McTague (1938-2013) received his undergraduate degree with honors in chemistry from Georgetown in 1960, and his Ph.D. from Brown in 1965. He was then recruited to the North American Rockwell Science Center by Professor Howard Reiss. In 1970, McTague accepted an assistant professor position in the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry under the aegis of Professor Reiss. He quickly rose to the rank of professor, and became a member of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics until his departure in 1982. After leaving UCLA, McTague became the first Chair of the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He then served at the White House as Deputy Director and then Acting Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In 1986, MacTague joined the Ford Motor Company where he spent more than 12 years, first as Vice-President-Research and then Vice President-Technical Affairs. In 1999, he was awarded the department’s Glenn T. Seaborg Award, at which time he and his family generously endowed two chairs – the Howard R. Reiss Chair (see below) and the John P. McTague Career Development Chair. The purpose of both chairs is to enhance the careers of outstanding junior faculty at a time when it is critical that they establish a body of original work. Until his passing in 2013, McTague remained a friend and supporter of our department and UCLA.  Professor Ellen Sletten is the current chair holder.
 
HOWARD REISS CAREER DEVELOPMENT CHAIR
Professor Howard Reiss (1922-2015) was an accomplished physical chemist and theorist who worked in a variety of fields, including including solid state, statistical mechanics, nucleation and colloid phenomena, polymers, electrochemistry, thermodynamics and device physics. He received his bachelor's degree in 1943 from New York University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1949. Half of his career was spent in industry (Bell Laboratories 1951-1960 and North American Aviation, now Rockwell International (1960-1968). The other half was spent in academia (Boston University 1949-51, and UCLA 1969-2015). The Howard Reiss Career Development Chair was established (along with the John McTague Career Development Chair – see above) in 1999 by John McTague and his family on the occasion of McTague receiving the 1999 Seaborg Medal, to honor Reiss who McTague had worked with at Rockwell. Reiss passed away in 2015 at the age of 93.  Professor Jose Rodriguez is the current chair holder. 
 
JOHN D. AND EDITH M. ROBERTS TERM CHAIR IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
Professor John D. ("Jack") Roberts (1918-2016) was one of the most influential chemists of the last 75 years, and it all started at UCLA. He received his bachelor's degree in 1941 and his Ph.D. in 1944 (with William G. Young as research advisor); he continued at UCLA as an Instructor (1944-45) until moving to Harvard on a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship with Paul Bartlett. Roberts had a long career at the California Institute of Technology, not only doing great research and leading the organic chemical world into the use of quantum theory, NMR, and isotope effects to explore organic reaction mechanisms, but also attracting some of the best students and postdocs to Caltech to work with him. Professor Ken Houk led a fundraising committee for this term chair. Funds from many former Roberts group members, the Roberts Family, UCLA faculty members, and the Jung matching funds helped to endow the chair.  
 
KENNETH N. TRUEBLOOD ENDOWED CHAIR IN CHEMISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY
The Kenneth N. Trueblood Endowed Chair in Chemistry & Biochemistry was established in August 2017, funded by a gift from the estate of the late Ken and Jeanie Trueblood. Professor Kenneth Trueblood (1920-1998) was a wonderful colleague, scientist and teacher. Many alumni and students are familiar with his name since our largest lecture room in Young Hall, CS50, is named in his honor. His wife, Jeanie Trueblood (1919-2016), is also remembered very fondly, as she was an active member of the UCLA community for many decades and a supporter of women scientists, women’s issues, environmental and anti-war causes. Professor Neil Garg is the current chair holder. 
 
DEAN M. WILLARD CHAIR IN CHEMISTRY
A business executive and longtime UCLA supporter, Dean M. Willard served from 1972 to 1989 as president and CEO of Products Research and Chemical Corporation (PRC). The Dean M. Willard Chair in Chemistry was established in 1997. (It was formerly known as the Courtaulds Chair and the name was changed in 2003 when Courtaulds became PRC.) The Courtaulds Chair was initially established by George Gregory, president of Products Research Corporation, and a major benefactor of UCLA. The company became part of the Courtaulds Coatings Ltd, which very generously completed the endowment. While the chair was not earmarked for any specific discipline in chemistry or biochemistry, in collaboration with Courtaulds, the decision was made to utilize it initially for support of materials chemistry and polymer studies. Professor Shimon Weiss is the current chair holder. 
 
SAUL WINSTEIN CHAIR IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
Professor Saul Winstein (1912-1969) was one of the leading physical organic chemists of the 1950s and '60s, employing the tools of physical chemistry to explore reactions in solution. A UCLA alumnus, he received an A.B. degree in 1934 and his master's degree in 1935. He  received his Ph.D. degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1938. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech, he was a National Research Fellow at Harvard University from 1939-1940. Winstein was a UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty member from 1941 until his passing in 1969. In 1971, he was posthumously awarded the prestigious National Medal of Science. Winstein's wife, Sylvia Winstein, also a UCLA alumna, was a long-time supporter of the department until she passed away in 2009. The Winstein Chair was established in 1984. In 2004, the Saul and Sylvia Winstein Cafe Commons in Young Hall was dedicated in honor of the Winsteins. Professor Kendall Houk is the current chair holder. 
 
LINDA AND FRED WUDL TERM CHAIR
The Linda and Fred Wudl Term Chair was started with a pledge from the Wudls in 2005, to support outstanding faculty in the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. By enabling the department to appoint either a junior or senior faculty member to the chair, the Wudls provided the department with the maximum flexibility in attracting outstanding scholars at any stage of their careers. The Wudls both attended UCLA (where they met) and have since contributed a great deal to the sciences. Dr. Linda Wudl, who received her bachelor's degree in microbiology and molecular genetics from UCLA in 1967, was most recently the vice president of quality and compliance at pharmaceutical giant Amgen, where she worked for more than twenty years before her retirement. Professor Fred Wudl holds both a bachelor's degree and a Ph.D. in chemistry from UCLA and completed his postgraduate studies at Harvard University. Wudl was a professor of chemistry at UCLA from 1997 to 2006, and he was also the director for both the Exotic Materials Institute and the Materials Creation Training Program. Wudl is currently a part of the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and co-director of the UCSB Center for Polymers and Organic Solids.
 
JEFFREY AND HELO ZINK ENDOWED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CHAIR IN CHEMISTRY
The Jeffrey and Helo Zink Endowed Professional Development Chair in Chemistry was established in May 2016 by UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty member Professor Jeff Zink and his wife, Helo Zink. The Zinks established the chair to help young faculty starting their careers, which can be a difficult time as there are few starter or career development grants. They wanted to provide funds to help successive generations of faculty at the start of their careers. A molecular biologist and chemist, Zink has been a member of the UCLA faculty since 1970. Professor Chong Liu is the current chair holder.
 
 

Endowed chairs are a critical resource for our department. These positions attract and retain top-quality faculty for our students to learn from and work alongside on scientific research that addresses the world’s greatest needs and humanity’s drive for exploration. To find out how you can contribute to an endowed chair, please contact Brooke Sanders, Executive Director of Development, UCLA Physical Sciences, 310-794-9045, bsanders@support.ucla.edu.
 
Click here to learn more about the endowed chairs and the chair holders within the UCLA Division of Physical Sciences. 
 
Please let us know if you find any errors in the above information. Send corrections to Penny Jennings, penny@chem.ucla.edu.