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ACS News

May 15, 2006
Volume 84, Number 20
p. 51

Southwest Georgia Section Celebrates

Remote, rural section honors volunteers and thanks local industry for 25 years of success

The ACS Southwest Georgia Section marked its 25th anniversary by applauding the accomplishments of its unsung heroes and by highlighting and thanking local industry and universities that have supported its activities. ACS President E. Ann Nalley and many section members attended festivities held on March 2 in Douglas, Ga.

photos Courtesy of ACS Southwest Georgia Section

On Tour Nalley and Singh at Optima's R&D laboratory.

Nalley was the guest speaker for the celebration and presented Unsung Heroes Awards to all the past chairs and section councilors. The awards were prepared by 2001 ACS president Attila E. Pavlath, who has a special affinity for the section, having been chair of the ACS Local Section Activities Committee when the section was formed on April 1, 1981.

Nalley presented Outstanding Service Recognition Awards to six local-section industries for monetary support and other help for local projects. Industries honored were Merck in Albany; Optima Chemical Group in Douglas; Landis International, DuPont Crop Protection, and ERCO Worldwide, in Valdosta; and Section 1533 ASQ in Thomasville. Some of these industries also supported the section's summer program, Latinas Acquiring Chemistry Experience, for Hispanic middle school female students.

Nalley also presented awards to 10 students from local-section middle and elementary schools for winning the National Chemistry Week poster contest.

Earlier in the day, section councilor Betty Derrick accompanied Nalley on a tour of Valdosta State University's chemistry department, where they visited with students. Later, Nalley toured Optima's facilities. Optima's R&D lab, pilot plant, and manufacturing plants are involved in specialized organometallic chemistry. Nalley met with Optima personnel and was hosted by Jagvir Singh, 2006 section chair and Optima chemist.

From a section history written by Jack Steele of Albany State University, for the section's 20th anniversary, readers learn that in the late 1970s, the state of Georgia had three ACS local sections: the Northwest Georgia Section headquartered in Athens; the Coastal Empire Section in Savannah; and the Georgia Section in Atlanta, which covered almost the entire state. The chemists and chemical engineers from southern Georgia, which encompasses 44 counties, had to drive as far as 220 miles on two-lane roads to attend meetings in Atlanta.

Honored Nalley presents an Unsung Hero Award to Alan B. White, who chaired the section in 1984.

A. Bradford Sears of Albany State University, Steele, Dowe P. Carter of Georgia Southwestern State University, and Dave Wilson of the University of Georgia's Coastal Plains Experimental Station in Tifton were instrumental in forming the section in this relatively isolated and remote rural area of southern Georgia. According to Steele's history, the presence of a professional scientific society benefits the practicing members of the group by allowing them the opportunity to socialize, to organize short courses, to be aware of what other professionals are doing in the same geographic area, and to learn of advances in other areas of the discipline.

Since the time of its charter, the section has grown and prospered. Within its first few years, the section was selected as the best small section in the nation based on its programs in 1985 and 1988.

Singh is proud of the section and looks forward to more years of success. "Our members now enjoy the interaction of latest advances in industry and academia in our monthly meetings. Our section has been contributing to the goals of ACS in our local communities, schools, and colleges for chemistry outreach programs," he says.-Linda Raber

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