Jun 14, 2019
Professor Neil Garg
On May 28, 2019, we celebrated the inaugural Trueblood Endowed Chair in Chemistry & Biochemistry appointed to Professor Neil Garg.
 
An intimate gathering of close supporters, donors, faculty, students, alumni, staff, and immediate Garg family members gathered for a reception and dinner at the UCLA Faculty Center. 
 
An organic chemist, Professor Neil Garg is known for his innovative teaching techniques, breakthroughs in methods development, achievements in natural product total synthesis and transformative chemical educational initiatives. He has also been named the next Chair of the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry effective July 1, 2019.
 
Select photos from the event can be viewed below and an online gallery can be viewed here
 
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 Trueblood (pictured right) was a wonderful colleague, scientist and teacher. Many alumni and students are familiar with his name since our largest lecture room in Young Hall, room CS50, is named in his honor. Jeanie 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.
 
(Left) In her remarks, the Truebloods’ niece, Dr. Diane Russell, praised the department for the selection of Garg for the Trueblood Chair. (Right) Dean of Physical Sciences Prof. Miguel García-Garibay with Prof. Neil Garg, wife Lindsey, and daughters Kaylie and Elaina.  
 
The Truebloods’ niece, Dr. Diane Russell, and her daughter, Eva Russell Yuma, attended the event. Other special guests included Dr. Mary Ellen Friedman ’67, MD ’71, MPH ‘79, a former student of Trueblood’s who established the Trueblood Tutor Endowment; Physical Sciences Board member Dr. Mike Gresser; former Trueblood students Walt Kasha ’79 and his wife Priscilla Kasha ’92, JD ‘95, and Caryl Carothers ’59; as well as alumni and supporters June Kim ’65, and Karen Timberlake ’65 and Bill Timberlake ‘66. 
 
In her remarks, Department Chair Catherine Clarke explained how important endowed chairs are to our department—giving our faculty the freedom to pursue new directions of research, even research that is daring or completely outside the box. Once these ideas are proven, faculty can submit proposals to outside funding agencies who are more likely to fund ideas that have documented merit. “We deeply appreciate our donors who also dream big, and have made these outstanding and generous investments in our talented faculty.”
 
“My uncle would be thrilled with the appointment of Neil Garg to the Trueblood Chair,“ said Diane Russell in her remarks. “The excellence of his scholarship along with his innovative teaching methods, and above all his commitment to students, fulfills Ken Trueblood’s legacy.” Russell praised the Department for the selection of Professor Garg and for nurturing generations of world-class scientists.  
 
Following remarks by Garg (left), Department Chair Prof. Catherine Clarke and Dean of Physical Sciences Prof. Miguel García-Garibay presented Garg and Russell with Commemorative Trueblood Chairs.  
 
Professor Miguel García-Garibay, Dean of UCLA’s Division of Physical Sciences and professor of organic chemistry, thanked the donors in attendance. “We are sincerely grateful for your tremendous dedication to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and for your meaningful gifts that have provided great impact to the department.” After describing Garg’s many accomplishments in research and teaching, García-Garibay said “The Trueblood Chair was established to honor an excellent scholar and teacher. We cannot think of anyone more deserving to be the inaugural Trueblood Chair.”
 
In his remarks, Garg praised Kenneth Trueblood for his countless contributions to UCLA and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, spanning his research, teaching, and service.  Garg commented on his joy in teaching his popular Chem 14D class for years in the Trueblood Lecture Hall.  He closed his remarks by saying “I hope the education my students receive here at UCLA will remain in line with the high standards Ken Trueblood would have been proud to see.”
 
(Left) At the reception prior to the ceremony - Diane Russell, Neil Garg, and Eva Russell Yuma. (Right) UCLA alumni and former students of Trueblood: Caryl Carothers, and Priscilla and Walt Kasha.
 
(From left) Diane Russell, Eva Russell Yuma, UCLA alumni and department supporters: Karen and Bill Timberlake, and Mary Ellen Friedman.
 
(From left) Garg group graduate students Andrew Kelleghan, Milauni Mehta, and Katie Spence with Physical Sciences Board member Dr. Mike Gresser, and Garg/García-Garibay graduate student Jordan Dotson.
 
(Left) Junior chemistry faculty, Profs. Keriann Berkus, Chong Liu, Hosea Nelson, and Alexander Spokoyny. (Right) Garg’s daughters Kaylie and Elaina pose in their father’s Commemorative Trueblood Chair.
 
(From left) Prof. Lauren Wisk (UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine), UCLA alumna and supporter June Kim, Prof. Justin Caram, and Department Chair Prof. Catherine Clarke.
 
Garg and his daughter Elaina with his group members.
 
 
Article and photos by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu