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Chemistry Chair Seeks to ‘Make a Difference’ Across the Board

Published December 7, 2016 in News

By: Fariss Samarrai | University Communications


University of Virginia chemistry department chair W. Dean Harman says his goal as a chemist, teacher and departmental leader is to “make a difference in people’s lives.”

That difference could be through the development of chemical compounds that ease the symptoms of disease. Or it could be by helping students realize their potential for making meaningful discoveries. Or it may be through administrative actions that help the Department of Chemistry excel.

For Harman, it is all of those things, and then some.

He came to UVA in 1989 as an assistant professor and since has guided more than 30 graduate students to Ph.D.s and careers in academia, industry and government. Each of those students, through Harman’s gentle leadership, has made discoveries that can and do change lives through better chemistry.

Harman also has taught about 7,000 undergraduates, many of whom have gone on to realize their potential as graduate students at UVA and other top universities.

Harman now is guiding his department through a full-scale renovation and modernization of the Chemistry Building.

He recently discussed his work with UVA Today.

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