February 14, 2020 at 11:41 am

Message from the Chair | New Building, New Board, New Opportunities

Dr. Stephen Bergmeier, portrait in lab

Dr. Stephen Bergmeier

By Stephen Bergmeier
Professor & Chair of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Greetings from Athens!

I hope your New Year is off to a good start. This year brings exciting new developments for the department.

Everyone in the department is looking forward to moving into the new Chemistry building. Phase 1 is construction of the new Chemistry Building and completion of the first and second floors. This is slated to be completed in July 2020 with move in by the start of the fall semester. Phase 2 is completion of the third floor in the new Chemistry Building, which is slated for completion in December 2020. Phase 2 includes the renovation of the east wing of Clippinger, and Phase 3 is the renovation of the west wing of Clippinger. In addition to current secured funding for the physical building, we are also planning for significant equipment improvements for which there are multiple giving opportunities.

A public grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony will occur in the spring of 2021. We would love to celebrate with you and hope that many of you will be able to make it to this important event for the department and its future.

Architect's rendering of the new Chemistry Building.

Architect’s rendering of the new Chemistry Building. Courtesy of BHDP + Flad Architects.

This past year has seen some exciting faculty developments. We welcomed Dr. Ben Bythell, who started in the department August 2019 as an associate professor of Analytical Chemistry. Dr. Bythell brings to the department significant expertise in Mass Spectrometry and Computational Chemistry. His research is currently supported with grants from the NIH (Universal Metabolite Tagging) and the NSF (Chemistry of Useful Destruction).

We are also excited for our colleagues who were recognized this year for their significant accomplishments. Dr. Katherine Cimatu and Dr. Justin Holub were both promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure beginning this academic year. Dr. Peter Harrington was named an Ohio University Presidential Research Scholar and Dr. Rebecca Barlag received the College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award. Congratulations to all!

A new development this year was the formation of an Alumni Advisory Board for the department. The mission of this board is to help promote the department of Chemistry to the university administration, to provide a conduit and a support base in fund raising, and to provide assistance in the areas of scholarships, awards and internships. Founding members are Rick Couch (Chair) Michael Moehring, Dustin Starkey, John Wetzel, and Peggy Viehweger. If you are interested in volunteering to be a board member, please contact me (

We are continually grateful for your support of the department. Your gifts are used in a myriad of ways to benefit the students, faculty and the department. Some examples include travel funds for students, fixing broken equipment, funding visiting speakers, and providing matching funds for grant applications. With our upcoming move to the new Chemistry building, I am asking again that you consider making a gift to the department. In particular, items for the biochemistry teaching lab are not part of the budget for the new Chemistry building (e.g. autoclave, incubator, FPLC system, ultracentrifuge). Other items of need for the new building include new routine instrumentation (e.g. LCMS, IR).

We would love to have you visit with us this year to reconnect and catch up on news. Whether you come visit during homecoming or just want to visit Athens again, drop an email to Lisa Cohen at so that we can arrange a time to meet. You can also follow us on social media for our most recent news and upcoming events (Instagram: #OhioChemBiochem  Twitter: @OHIOChemBiochem  Facebook: @OUChemBiochem )

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