Distinguished Alumni Award 2016
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, '61
Ph.D. in Chemistry, '66
Dr. George Newkome has been a chemistry and polymer scientist for 50 years. Currently, he is the Oelschlager Professor of Science and Technology at The University of Akron, President of the Ohio Research Foundation and President of the NE Ohio Student Venture Fund.
He founded the field of dendrimer chemistry, a form of supramolecular nanoscale polymers used in nano-medicine and material science. Newkome is a Fellow of the AAAS, Royal Society of Chemistry, Ohio Academy of Sciences and a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Newkome credits his education at Kent State University for his subsequent illustrious academic and research career.
He received his B.S. (1961) and Ph.D. (1966) in Chemistry from Kent State University. An Akron native, he went to Kent State from St. Vincent High School. His major professor was Dr. Derry Fishel and George earned one of the very first Ph.D. degrees in Chemistry awarded by Kent State University. Newkome was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He continues his association with Kent State to this day serving on the Advisory Board of the College of Arts and Sciences.
After graduating from Kent State, Newkome became a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University before joining Louisiana State University where he became a Full Professor and was awarded the designation of Distinguished Research Master. He then joined the University of South Florida as their first Vice President for Research with a faculty appointment in chemistry and was also named Distinguished Research Professor. He was host and commentator for the TV show Science Adventures and the international syndication Beyond Science. In 2001, he happily returned to Northeast Ohio and became Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at The University of Akron.
In 2015, he was the recipient of the Docteur Honoris Causa de L'Université de Bordeaux in recognition of his contributions to graduate education, international relations and chemistry research. He has also served on the board of numerous corporations and editorial boards and is the author of over 510 scientific articles, 65 patents and has edited/written over 20 scientific books.
Newkome is the proud father of Melanie Newkome Jones, a lawyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the grandfather of four talented granddaughters: Brennan, Mariel, Molly and Emery. He has just celebrated 30 years of marriage to Dr. Mary Jane Saunders, a biology professor and former university president. They reside in Medina and are grateful for all that Kent State means to them personally and to the Northeast Ohio community it serves.