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February 13, 2007, Volume 53, No. 22

Nancy Hart, Student Registration

Nancy Hart, systems analyst for the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services, died on January 23, at the age of 56. 

After graduation from Key West High School in Florida in 1968, Ms. Hart relocated to Philadelphia to attend Pierce Junior College and upon completion she earned a B.A. in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University.

Beginning in 1988, Ms. Hart worked as a programmer/analyst in Penn’s Office of Institutional Research. In 1998, she joined the University Registrar’s Office as a programmer/analyst and she was later promoted to assistant registrar responsible for Course and Classroom Scheduling. In 2003, Ms. Hart became a systems analyst for the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services, dedicated to support of the Student Registration System (SRS), Advisor InTouch, and student information in the Data Warehouse.

Ms. Hart is survived by her father, Richard Hart, Sr.; two sons, Robert Kenneth and Kevin Darnell; their father, Henry Robert Witherspoon; her siblings, Willie Mae Lasswell, Patsy West, Richard Jr., and Albert Nathaniel; three grandchildren, Santasha Glynnis, Heaven Leigh and Erica; one aunt, Hattie Glover White; six nieces, Michelle, Kimberly, Felicia, Natasha, Makeba and Keasha; three nephews, Derrick, Darryl and Marshall and a host of cousins, friends and colleagues.

Dr. MacDiarmid, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Alan MacDiarmid

Dr. Alan G. MacDiarmid, Blanchard Professor in Chemistry and Nobel Laureate, passed away February 7. He was 79.

“This is such a sad day for all of us in the Penn family.  With Alan’s passing, we have lost not only a great chemist and scientist of extraordinary accomplishment and global stature but also an enthusiastic friend and wonderful colleague who was modest and gracious even as he won the honor of all honors, the Nobel Prize,” said President Amy Gutmann.

Dr. MacDiarmid was the recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with former Penn professor and director of LRSM Dr. Alan J. Heeger, now at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Dr. Hideki Shirakawa of the University of Tsukuba in Japan. They were honored for their 1977 discovery that plastics, or polymers, can be made to conduct electricity much like metals. This finding turned on its head the conventional wisdom that polymers could not conduct electricity, and unleashed new research among physicists, chemists and materials scientists worldwide. This technology is now applied in cell phones.

Born in Masterton, New Zealand, Dr. Mac- Diarmid studied at the University of New Zealand earning his B.Sc in 1948 and his M.Sc. in 1950. He won a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Wisconsin where he earned his Ph.D. in 1953. He received another Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1955.

Dr. MacDiarmid joined Penn’s department of chemistry in 1955. He was appointed assistant professor in 1956, associate professor in 1961 and professor in 1964. In 2002 he joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Dallas and in 2004 the Jilin University in China. He was also involved in the establishment of the Jilin MacDiarmid Institute of organic nanomaterials in China and the MacDiarmid Institute of Materials Science and Nanotechnology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

“The School of Arts and Sciences had the great fortune of counting Alan MacDiarmid as a faculty member for over half a century. We will remember him not only as a path-breaking scientist but also as a cherished colleague, teacher, and mentor,” said SAS Dean Rebecca Bushnell.

Dr. MacDiarmid received numerous honors and awards. He was the recipient of the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists (1984), the “Top 100” Innovation Award from Science Digest (1985), the University of Pennsylvania’s Medal for Distinguished Achievement (2001), and many awards from the American Chemical Society. In 2003 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London, the world’s oldest scientific academy founded in 1660. At Penn, the Alan MacDiarmid Endowed Term Chair in Chemistry was named in his honor. He published over 600 research papers and held over two dozen patents. He had many memberships in professional societies including the National Academy of Science.

Dr. MacDiarmid is survived by his wife, Gayl Gentile; three daughters, Heather McConnell, Dawn Hazelett, and Gail Williams; a son, Duncan; nine grandchildren; a sister, Alice Palmer; and two brothers, Roderick and Colin. 

A University Memorial Service will be held on Friday, March 2, at 3 p.m. at Irvine Auditorium, Spruce at 34th Street, with reception to follow.

Contributions in memory of Dr. MacDiarmid to support graduate chemistry education at the University of Pennsylvania and Victoria University of Wellington may be sent to Elizabeth Caimi, Suite 300, 3440 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.

To see a video of his October 10, 2000, Nobel Prize Press Conference, visit www.upenn.edu/almanac/v47/NobelVideo/PressConf.html.

To Report A Death

Almanac appreciates being informed of the deaths of current and former faculty and staff members, students, and other members of the University community.

However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 545, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136 or e-mail record@ben.dev.upenn.edu.

Almanac - February 13, 2007, Volume 53, No. 22