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McNamara becomes 9th Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar in William & Mary chemistry department

  • Portrait photograph of chemist William McNamara, who was named a 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar by the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation.
    2019 Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar  William McNamara has been named a 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. He becomes the ninth active member of the Department of Chemistry to be so recognized for excellence in involving undergraduates in research.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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William McNamara has been named a 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, joining an already impressive slate of Dreyfus honorees in William & Mary’s Department of Chemistry.

McNamara is an associate professor in the department. He is one of a class of eight new Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars announced on Aug. 2 by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

The award provides an unrestricted research grant of $75,000 to young faculty in the chemical sciences at primarily undergraduate institutions who are accomplished researchers and committed educators. Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar nominations are submitted by undergraduate institutions from throughout the United States.

McNamara’s research topic is “catalyst-sensitized metal oxides for photocatalytic hydrogen generation.” It’s essentially an investigation into the possibilities of harnessing and storing solar energy through a form of artificial photosynthesis. In 2018, he received a five-year CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to pursue this work.

"Research support at undergraduate institutions is very important," said Mark J. Cardillo, executive director of The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation in making the announcement. "Nearly half the chemists who earn a doctorate degree receive their bachelor's degree from an undergraduate institution, and research is a fundamental part of chemistry education."

The August announcement makes McNamara the ninth active member of the William & Mary Department of Chemistry to be named a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. The Dreyfus Foundation list of awardees, dating back to 1994, shows that no other school has as many.

In addition to McNamara, the chemistry department has Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars in Kristin Wustholz (2018), Doug Young (2017), Jonathan R. Scheerer (2015), Elizabeth Harbron (2010), J.C. Poutsma (2006), Robert Hinkle (2002), Robert D. Pike (1999) and Christopher J. Abelt (1996).

In addition to the awardees in the department of chemistry, William & Mary has Myriam Cotten, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Science, who became a 2014 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar at Hamilton College.

“Bill joins a number of chemistry faculty members who’ve been named Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars,” said Robert J. Hinkle, chair of the department and a 2002 recipient of the honor. “This award not only demonstrates how well we blend research and teaching activities in chemistry, but it also shows how well we’ve done hiring the best people.”

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is a leading non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of the chemical sciences. It was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor and businessman Camille Dreyfus, who directed that the foundation's purpose be "to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances around the world."