A pioneer in the field of inorganic chemistry, Kim Renee Dunbar and her team at Texas A&M University have made significant contributions to the international scientific community. Her work has gone on to pioneer new applications in the field, and she has earned distinctions such as an Honorary Degree from Westminster College for her contributions.
Over an illustrious career, Kim Renee Dunbar has made a significant impact on the research of inorganic chemistry and has been given a number of awards and accolades to honor her work.
She and her team at Dunbar Research Group focus their studies on inorganic chemistry with a special emphasis on coordination chemistry. Their work helps scientists understand the relationship between molecular structure and physical properties, and spans topics like anti-cancer compounds, multifunctional materials with organic radicals, and molecular magnetism.
In the past, Kim Renee Dunbar was named a Davidson Professor of Science in addition to being a joint holder of the Davidson Chair in Science. She’s a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and has received the American Chemical Society Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry. She was also awarded the title of Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry for the impact her research has had on the scientific community
Dunbar received an honorary degree, doctor of science, honoris causa, during Westminster’s 158th commencement ceremonies in front of an audience of thousands. The degree recognized her distinguished contributions in the field of chemistry in laboratories and clinical settings around the world. The ceremony honored her as both a living legend and a highly-distinguished university alumni (she was a 1980 Westminster graduate). After presenting her with the award, the university asked Dunbar to speak, and she shared thoughts on Blue Skies: The Value of a Liberal Arts Education.
“I sincerely believe that my education at Westminster College provided me with the tools that I desperately needed to decide first, what I wanted to think about and second, what I wanted to do with this information,” Kim Renee Dunbar said after receiving the award. “My liberal arts education facilitated a desire to experiment: to explore entirely unknown territories without fear and with the confidence that questioning my own knowledge is not only a good idea but is absolutely necessary in order to be a good scientist and mentor.”
The honorary degree was just the latest in a long line of professional achievements. Kim Renee Dunbar earned her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University and then performed research as a postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University. She joined the Michigan State University faculty as a professor of chemistry and earned the title of University Distinguished Professor while there. Since transferring back to Texas A&M in 1999 to work in their Department of Chemistry, she’s led the university to new heights and has made strides in the subjects of synthetic, structural, and physical inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry.
Renowned professor and researcher Kim Renee Dunbar of Texas A&M University has changed the international scientific community’s understanding of inorganic chemistry since beginning her career decades ago. Among other notable appearances, she was invited to share her insight with the students and faculty of Westminster College for the Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecture.
Kim Renee Dunbar is regularly invited to shed light on new scientific discoveries, especially in synthetic, structural, and physical inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry. She has helped transform scientific understanding of the subject ever since earning a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University. Today, she teaches and performs research at Texas A&M University.
Among the numerous guest lectures and presentations, she has delivered over the years, she was invited to speak at Westminster College as part of the first–ever Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecture. Westminster College, located about an hour north of Pittsburgh, which has developed a reputation for excellence in faculty, academics, and individualized attention. The school is known for its unique and conducive classroom sizes with a 11:1 student–to–faculty ratio and an average of 1,300 students each year.
The college sponsors 20 varsity sports, 18 honor societies, and more than 80 clubs, and works diligently to create lasting and meaningful connections with each of their students. In this way, they develop lifelong rapport with their extensive alumni base. The institution draws in world–class professionals such as Kim Renee Dunbar to encourage independent thinking and deliver superb education to its student body.
The mission of Westminster College is to help men and women develop competencies, commitments and characteristics which have distinguished human beings at their best. The liberal arts tradition is the foundation of the curriculum continually designed to serve this mission in a rapidly changing world.
The College sees the well–educated person as one whose skills are complemented by ever–developing values and ideals identified in the Judeo–Christian tradition. Westminster‘s quest for excellence is a recognition that stewardship of life mandates the maximum possible development of each person‘s capabilities. The College thus realizes its mission in men and women who as students:
- Develop intellectual curiosity and the competencies to reason logically, evaluate critically, communicate effectively, imagine creatively, appreciate and produce aesthetic and creative expressions of humanity;
- Acquire a knowledge and appreciation of self, society, human cultures, and the natural world, and human relationships to God;
- Develop and demonstrate moral and ethical commitments to neighbor, society, and the natural world consistent with the understanding of self;
- Commit themselves to lifelong learning and the acquisition of skill for careers and responsible service as world citizens.
Westminster College was created on January 21, 1852 in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, with an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from the very beginning. As one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the nation, Westminster was founded to promote the spirit and values of Christianity while focusing on the development of the individual – intellectually, spiritually, and socially – which still rings true today.
Westminster is proud of its heritage, and optimistic about its future. Serving the needs of students has enabled Westminster to become one of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges.
Recognized for its high–level presence, Westminster College is a top–tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of “The Best 379 Colleges” by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President’s Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Since its beginnings in 1852, Westminster College has been a church–related institution. We are related to the Presbyterian Church (USA) by covenant with the Synod of the Trinity which states: “Students at Westminster are enrolled in a college sustained through the decades by what was the United Presbyterian Church of North America. This heritage has at its core those ideals exemplified by Jesus Christ. Today the College strives continually to understand and express the relationship between its religious heritage and the liberal arts ideals and values in ways relevant to a rapidly changing world. Westminster embraces the whole church with its many traditions and the human race in its diversity. The College is open to the moral and spiritual character of different religious traditions and resolves to continue its participation in both ecumenical and interfaith endeavors.” Covenant Agreement with Synod of the Trinity, 2008.
A national leader in educational excellence, guest speakers like Kim Renee Dunbar demonstrate the caliber of professionals they wish to foster through their programs. During the inaugural Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecture, Dunbar spoke about her research, “Metals in Medicine throughout the Ages: From Ancient Egypt to Victorian England to the 21st Century.” The lecture series is funded by Dr. Ken Long, Westminster professor of chemistry emeritus, and his wife, Nancy, to invite outstanding chemists to speak to Westminster students.
Dr. Ken Long, who worked with Dunbar at Westminster, said, “Kim Renee Dunbar was outstanding as a student and has been highly successful as a graduate. We are proud of her accomplishments and are delighted she is the first Ken and Nancy Long Chemistry Lecturer.”
Professor of chemistry at Texas A&M University Kim Renee Dunbar makes landmark contributions to the study of inorganic chemistry that impact the scientific community worldwide. In addition to a number of accolades and fellowships, she received the inaugural Eminent Scholar Award in 2011, which showcases the extraordinary achievements of female Texas A&M University faculty members.
For her research on inorganic chemistry, Kim Renee Dunbar has been recognized as a standout contributor in her field and has earned many titles and awards as a result. She is a fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), a recipient of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and a two-time recipient of the Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award.
In addition, she was the first person to ever win the Eminent Scholar Award, which highlights the achievements of female Texas A&M faculty. The award was created in 2011 and was first awarded to Kim Renee Dunbar for her original research in the field of inorganic chemistry. It is a partnership between Texas A&M University and the Aggie Women Network.
Texas A&M University is dedicated to the discovery, development, communication, and application of knowledge in a range of academic and professional fields. As it addresses the needs of an increasingly diverse population and a global economy, the Eminent Scholar Award helps identify the women that represent a vital part of the mission of the university.
Texas A&M partnered with the Aggie Women Network over shared beliefs and their mission to value and promote inclusiveness and diversity as well as advance the engagement of women in academic, research, mentoring, and service activities of the institution. The Aggie Women Network is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and a recognized constituent network under The Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University.
The Aggie Women Network recognizes that female faculty members at Texas A&M University are in a unique position to influence the educational experience of current women students. As a result, they believe their successes are inspirational and should be recognized with achievement awards such as the Eminent Scholar Award. It ultimately honors accomplished women who have demonstrated a clear record of excellence in teaching, mentoring, and service, especially to women students at the university.
To be eligible for nomination, Kim Renee Dunbar had to meet certain criteria such as serving as a tenured full professor for at least two years with Texas A&M University and proving to be an exemplary role model to students and faculty.
To date, Kim Renee Dunbar holds the Davison Chair, holds the title of University Distinguished Professor, has written for over 400 publications, authored 22 book chapters or reviews, and served as Associate Editor for Inorganic Chemistry for 12 years. Additionally, she has graduated 41 doctoral students, 6 master’s students, and received 16 different honors as a faculty member, including the inaugural Graduate Mentoring Award from The Association of Former Students.
Over an illustrious career spanning decades of scientific breakthroughs, Kim Renee Dunbar has received a variety of awards and accolades for her distinguished contributions. She and her research team at Texas A&M University continue making strides in the advancement of inorganic chemistry with backing from major institutions.
Kim Renee Dunbar has had a significant impact on the international scientific community with her work in the field of inorganic chemistry. She and her research team have spent years studying and developing projects that will aid humanity through novel magnetic materials, improved cancer treatments, and much more. And for her dedicated work, Dunbar has received a number of distinctions and awards that highlight her scientific achievements.
In 2004, Kim Renee Dunbar was named a Davidson Professor of Science as well as a joint holder of the Davidson Chair in Science, making her the first female chair holder in the College of Science. In 2007, she was named a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, which is Texas A&M University’s highest academic faculty rank. She received the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry in 2015 and has gone on to win a range of other awards and fellowships that recognize her and her team’s landmark discoveries.
Dunbar initially earned a degree from Westminster College before earning her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University in 1984. After graduating with her doctorate, she conducted postdoctoral research at Texas A&M and later returned to their chemistry department after almost fifteen years after leaving. There, she garnered the Davidson Chair in Science and developed the Dunbar Research Group with a strong international component of Postdoctoral Researchers, Visiting Scholars, graduate students, and undergraduate students.
Kim Renee Dunbar and the team behind the Dunbar Group conduct research that focuses on inorganic chemistry with a special emphasis on coordination chemistry. One of the main missions of the group is to understand and better explain the relationship between molecular structure and physical properties in each specific application of their research. The projects they cover span diverse topics including molecular magnetism, metal anti-cancer agents, and multifunctional materials with organic radicals.
The students involved in Dunbar Group have the opportunity to expand their chemical knowledge outside the boundaries of their degree specialty. They gain experience in a variety of state-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation, which include air-free synthesis (glovebox and Schlenk-line), X-ray crystallography, SQUID magnetometry, mass spectrometry, computational chemistry, cell viability assays, electrochemistry, and electronic, EPR, infrared, and NMR spectroscopies.
Kim Renee Dunbar has received great support from many respected institutions and organizations over the years that finance the group’s research efforts. Among notable contributors are the United States Department of Energy, the American Chemical Society, the Welch Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. Today, her research, with support from Texas A&M University, continues to change chemistry for the better in research facilities and laboratories around the world.
Texas A&M University chemistry professor Kim Dunbar has received the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry. Below, she and her colleagues comment on the announcement and explain the landmark contributions Dunbar has made in the field of chemistry.
Kim Renee Dunbar earned her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University in 1984 and conducted postdoctoral research at Texas A&M. Nearly fifteen years after graduating, she joined the chemistry faculty at Texas A&M after leaving the chemistry department at Michigan State University.
She’s earned a variety of distinctions and awards in her career thanks to her major contributions to chemistry and scientific knowledge as a whole. In 2004, Kim Renee Dunbar was named a Davidson Professor of Science as well as a joint holder of the Davidson Chair in Science, making her the first female chair holder ever in the College of Science. In 2007, she was named a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, which remains Texas A&M’s highest academic faculty rank.
In addition, she has been honored with an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship in the past, a Camille & Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and fellowships in both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Chemists.
Kim Dunbar is also a two-time recipient of the Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award, receiving the inaugural award in 2006 and another in 2012. Also in 2012, Dunbar earned the first Texas A&M Women Former Students’ Network Eminent Scholar Award ever offered.
“She stands as an exemplary role model for young women who aspire to academic positions in chemistry,” says Jeffrey R. Long of the University of California, Berkeley, who is a longtime colleague.
Kim Renee Dunbar has now won an ACS award for her contributions, making her only the second female recipient ever of ACS’s top award for inorganic chemistry.
“I have been passionate about inorganic chemistry since I was an undergraduate, and I could not imagine another career,” says Kim Renee Dunbar. “I deeply admire the previous recipients of the award, all of whom set the bar very high for all of us in inorganic chemistry and inspired me greatly.”
The research she conducts on synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry employs the principles of coordination chemistry to solve a range of diverse problems. From her research, developers around the world have created new magnetic and conducting materials as well as specialized anticancer agents that will be instrumental in saving lives.
Dunbar was presented with the ACS award and gave an official address before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry.
“I am highly honored to receive this award,” she says. “The many excellent students, postdocs, and coworkers who have contributed to the success of my research program share this award with me.”
One of the nation’s premier chemists, Dr. Kim Renee Dunbar has been honored with distinguished alumna awards from Westminster College and Purdue University. The Distinguished Professor of Science at Texas A&M University received an honorary degree, doctor of science, honoris causa, during Westminster’s 158th commencement ceremonies.
Having dedicated her professional career to the research and education of young chemists, Dr. Kim Renee Dunbar has earned a range of accolades and awards, such as the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation fellowship. Her contributions have helped countless scientists around the world understand intricate and complex subjects such as organic and inorganic composite materials, molecular magnetism, and metal-based chemotherapy. Her work on coordination chemistry principles has helped to further research in magnetic materials and new anticancer agents.
Her latest achievement, an honorary degree, doctor of science, honoris causa, recognizes her distinguished contributions to the field of chemistry in laboratories and clinical settings around the world. She was awarded the honorary degree at Westminster College’s 158th commencement ceremonies where hundreds had gathered on the lawn of the New Wilmington campus.
Her landmark work in chemistry has affected science on a global scale, and she earned the titles of Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Fellow of the American Chemical Society and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for the impact her research has had on the scientific community as a whole. For over two decades, Dr. Kim Renee Dunbar has helped lead the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University to new heights with her impactful research in the area of synthetic, structural, and physical inorganic and bioinorganic chemistry. Additionally, Dr. Kim Renee Dunbar uncovered critical new evidence behind structure and bonding relationships as well as chemical phenomena.
The commencement ceremony honored her as a living legend in science and university alumni––she was a 1980 Westminster graduate––and invited her to share her thoughts on “Blue Skies: The Value of a Liberal Arts Education.”
“I sincerely believe that my education at Westminster College provided me with the tools that I desperately needed to decide first, what I wanted to think about and, second, what I wanted to do with this information,” Dr. Kim Renee Dunbar told the audience. “My liberal arts education facilitated a desire to experiment: to explore entirely unknown territories without fear and with the confidence that questioning my own knowledge is not only a good idea but is absolutely necessary in order to be a good scientist and mentor.”
Dr. Kim Renee Dunbar earned a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University and performed post-doctoral research at Texas A&M University before joining the Michigan State University faculty. There, she rose to the rank of University Distinguished Professor before eventually transferring back to Texas A&M in 1999 to become a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry.
Inorganic Chemist Kim Renee Dunbar’s Impressive Awards of the Last Several Decades
Kim Renee Dunbar is a prolific inorganic chemist who has received countless honors and awards throughout her career. Kim Renee Dunbar currently teaches at Texas A&M University and is a University Distinguished Professor and holds The Davidson Chair of Science in the Chemistry Department.
In addition to the honors she has received, Kim Renee Dunbar has authored more than 430 publications. Here are some of the awards she has received throughout her career.
Fred Basolo Medal For Outstanding Research in Inorganic Chemistry
Kim Renee Dunbar received the prestigious Fred Basolo Medal For Outstanding Research in Inorganic Chemistry, which will be presented at a ceremony on October 2019. The Fred Basolo Medal is named for a professor at Northwestern University, who made the university’s inorganic chemistry department one of the very best in the United States.
“I knew Fred Basolo quite well,” said Kim Renee Dunbar upon learning she would be given this prestigious award. “He took an interest in me when I was a young professor. He and I had many long talks, and he regaled me with stories about the history of coordination chemistry. He was a wonderful role model and an inspiration to me.”
The Distinguished Service Award for the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry
Kim Renee Dunbar received the Distinguished Service Award for the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry in 2015, when it was presented to her in Boulder, Colorado. She is only the second woman to receive this honor. This award is given for her significant contributions to inorganic chemistry through research and service. It is a huge honor and distinction to be recognized with this award, and it was even more meaningful to be one of only two women to ever receive it, Kim Renee Dunbar said.
She hopes to pave the way for future women in STEM fields to realize their potential and succeed following her inspiring example. Kim Renee Dunbar also encourages young people in the field through her research group, The Dunbar Research Group, at Texas A&M University, which conducts a wide variety of research from molecular magnetism to anti-cancer compounds to multifunctional materials with organic radicals.
Honorary Degree From Westminster College
With too many awards to name, another honor granted to Kim Renee Dunbar is an honorary degree that was bestowed upon her in 2012. This honorary doctor of science was given to her in from Westminster College, an outstanding liberal arts college in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Kim Renee Dunbar attended Westminster College for her bachelor’s degree in chemistry which she obtained in 1980. Kim Renee Dunbar delivered the commencement address to the May 2012 graduating seniors and their families at a ceremony held on the lawn of the campus in New Wilmington.
“I sincerely believe that my education at Westminster College provided me with the necessary tools that I desperately needed to decide, first, what I wanted to learn, and, second, what I wanted to do with my knowledge,” Kim Renee Dunbar said of the education she received at her alma mater.
These Scientific Publications by Kim Renee Dunbar Represent Forefront Research in the Field of Inorganic Chemistry
Kim Renee Dunbar, a leader in inorganic chemistry, has received many awards and written hundreds of publications throughout her career. She received her Ph.D. in inorganic at Purdue University and is now a professor at Texas A&M University, holding the Davidson Chair of Science and ia ae Distinguished Professorship of Chemistry there.
Kim Renee Dunbar’s research has been focused on a wide range of areas, with extensive research in synthetic, biological and physical inorganic chemistry. Here are just five of the publications of Kim Renee Dunbar that have been influential and made a difference in the inorganic chemistry scientific community.
1. “Novel Binding Interactions of the DNA Fragment d(pGpG) Cross-Linked by the Antitumor Active Compound Tetrakis (m-carboxylato)dirhodium(II, II)”: H. T. Chifotides, K. M. Koshlap, L. M. Prez, K. R. Dunbar, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003.
According to the abstract of this publication, “Insight into the N7/O6 equatorial binding interactions of the antitumor active complex… with the nucleotide 5′-GMP and the DNA fragment d(pGpG) has been obtained by one- (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) NMR spectroscopy.”
2. “A Remarkable Family of Rhodium Acetonitrile Compounds Spanning Three Oxidation States and with Nuclearities Ranging from Mononuclear and Dinuclear to One-Dimensional Chains”: M. E. Prater, L. E. Pence, R. Clrac, G. M. Finniss, C. Campana, P. Auban-Senzier, D. Jrome, E. Canadell, K. R. Dunbar, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1999.
According to the abstract of this publication, “A series of homoleptic cations of Rh(I, II), Rh(II), and Rh(III) have been synthesized and characterized in the solid-state and in solution… The mixed-ligand, square planar cation… was found to form a 1-D stack in the solid-state, unlike previously reported salts with bulky counterions. For all of the compounds under investigation, infrared spectroscopy and X-ray studies were performed. The mixed-valence product was also characterized by EPR spectroscopy and SQUID magnetometry.”
3. Metal-organic frameworks as platforms for isolating individual single-molecule magnets in pores. Joshua B. Pyser, Darpandeep Aulakh, Xuan Zhang, Andrey A. Yakovenko, Kim R. Dunbar and Mario Wriedt, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015.
According to the abstract of this publication, “The results provide incontrovertible evidence that the magnetic composite, [email protected], combines key SMM properties with the functional properties of MOFs. Most importantly, the incorporated SMMs exhibit a significantly enhanced thermal stability with SMM loading advantageously occurring at the periphery of the bulk MOF crystals with only a single SMM molecule isolated in the transverse direction of the pores.”
4. Optimizing the Electronic Properties of Photoactive Anticancer Oxypyridine Bridged Dirhodium(II, II) Complexes, Zhanyong Li, Amanda David, Bryan A. Albani, Jean-Philippe Pellois, Claudia Turro, and Kim R. Dunbar, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014.
According to the abstract of this publication, “These results clearly demonstrate the importance of tuning the ligand field around the dimetal center to maximize the photoreactivity and achieve the best photodynamic action.”
5. Cyanide Single-Molecule Magnets Exhibiting Reversible, Solvent Dependent “On” and “Off” Exchange Bias Behavior. Dawid Pinkowicz, Heather I. Southerland, Carolina Avendaño, Andrey Prosvirin, Wolfgang Wernsdorfer, Kasper S. Pedersen, Jan Dreiser, Rodolphe Clérac and Kim R. Dunbar, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015.
According to the abstract of this publication, “It was found that all compounds exhibit switchable single-molecule magnet (SMM) and exchange-bias behavior depending on the interstitial methanol content.”
Kim Renee Dunbar Discusses Her Inorganic Chemistry Research Group at Texas A&M University
Kim Renee Dunbar, an acclaimed scientist in the field of inorganic chemistry, founded the Dunbar Research Group in Lansing, Michigan at Michigan State University in 1987 and later moved her research enterprise to College Station at Texas A&M University in 1999 where she is a Distinguished Professor. Kim Renee Dunbar said this group is one of the projects of which she is most proud, as she has the chance to inspire many young students to pursue chemistry and to be curious about the subjects in science that interest them.
“The Dunbar research group focuses on coordination chemistry, but we also have researched many other topics of inorganic chemistry,” Kim Renee Dunbar said. Indeed, everything from anti-cancer compounds to molecular magnetism are researched by the group. A lot of the topics researched are based on what members of the group are interested in, Kim Renee Dunbar said.
Kim Renee Dunbar was named a Davidson Professor of Science at Texas A&M University in 2004 and is now holder of the Davidson Chair in Science. She was the first female to be given an endowed Chair in the history of the Texas A&M College of Science. She received a Graduate Mentoring Award from the university in 2006.
According to the Dunbar Research Group webpage, “research in the Dunbar Research Group spans a number of topics in synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry with a focus on problems at the interface of materials and biological chemistry.” Physical techniques like Electronic, EPR, infrared spectroscopies, X-ray crystallography, AC and DC magnetic magnetometry, and electrochemistry are mastered by her group members.
“The Dunbar Research Group students, postdoctoral researchers and Visiting Scholars are committed to investigating a breadth of problems,” said Kim Renee Dunbar.
The group is highly international, with a strong commitment to collaboration, which makes them a pleasure to work with, Kim Renee Dunbar said. It is made up of a Visiting scholar, two postdoctoral Research Associates, nine Ph.D. students and two undergraduate students. Members of the group must perform their own measurements and interpret their data. Written and oral communication skills are emphasized by presenting at weekly group meetings and providing written reports.
I focus not only on research in mentoring my group, I also emphasize skills that will benefit them in any future career, especially public speaking and writing, so I make it a priority for them to acquire strong skills in a wide variety of areas ,” Kim Renee Dunbar said. The students also work on writing their own publications and attend conferences to present their findings, allowing them to network with others and gain real-world experience.
Another key component of the Dunbar Research Group is collaborating with national and international scientists. This “allows for the group to expand the level of our understanding in specialized areas,” according to the Dunbar Research Group website.
Kim Dunbar Recognized for Work in Science Over the Decades
What is an honorary degree, and how can you earn one? According to Priceonomics (https://priceonomics.com/why-do-colleges-give-out-honorary-degrees/), honorary degrees have been awarded for more than 500 years. They are given to an individual for whom the usual requirements of attaining a degree are waived.
Kim Dunbar, a 1980 Westminster graduate, was given an honorary doctor of science degree in 2012 by Westminster College. Kim Dunbar is now the holder of the Davidson Chair of Science at Texas A&M University. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Westminster College in 1980, and then went on to earn her Ph.D. at Purdue University.
“I received my Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University,” said Kim Dunbar. “However, years later, Westminster College, my alma mater, honored me with an honorary doctor of science degree. It was a gesture that deeply touched me.”
How did Kim Dunbar join people like Oprah and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in receiving an honorary degree? She is renowned for her research in the fields of physical and inorganic chemistry. Kim Dunbar has made breakthroughs in several areas of study, including molecular magnetism and metal-based chemotherapy.
“I sincerely believe that my education at Westminster College provided me with the tools that I desperately needed to decide, first, what I wanted to think about and second, what I wanted to do with this information,” Kim Dunbar said when she received her honorary degree. “My liberal arts education facilitated a desire to experiment: to explore entirely unknown territories without fear and with the confidence that questioning my own knowledge is not only a good idea but is absolutely necessary in order to be a good scientist and mentor.”
Westminster College, located in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, is located an hour north of Pittsburgh in the heart of Amish country. It was founded in 1852 with an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church. According to its website, Westminster is “proud of its heritage, and optimistic about its future. Serving the needs of students has enabled Westminster to become one of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges.”
In addition to her study and breakthroughs, Kim Dunbar has authored more than 400 publications, including scientific articles, papers, reviews and book chapters. She served as the Associate editor of Inorganic Chemistry for many years.
This honorary degree was not the first time Kim Dunbar has been recognized for her achievements, however. She has been given distinguished alumna awards from Westminster College and Purdue University. She has also received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award and numerous fellowships as well as a national American Chemical Society Award in 2015 and a Medal from the Chicago section of the American Chemical Society in 2019. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry.