Tolman named chair of Department of Chemistry

William Tolman has been named chair of the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology's Department of Chemistry effective August 5, 2009. Tolman succeeds professor Jeffrey Roberts who stepped down as chair to accept an appointment as dean of the College of Science at Purdue University.


A faculty member at the University since 1990, Tolman is a renowned synthetic chemist whose work straddles the traditional boundaries separating chemistry's inorganic, biological, and organic specialty areas. Tolman's current research, funded primarily by the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation, focuses on using synthetic chemistry to understand copper sites in enzymes and new ways to develop biorenewable sources to replace petroleum-based plastics. Tolman is a researcher in Department of Chemistry's Center for Metals in Biocatalysis and the department's new Center for Sustainable Polymers.


Tolman has received numerous honors and awards including a University of Minnesota Distinguished McKnight University Professorship, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, and a Humboldt Foundation Research Award. In 2006, he was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Tolman has given nearly 200 lectures on his research at various universities and research labs around the world. He has published more than 150 journal articles or book chapters and also holds a patent related to polymer synthesis from macrocycles.


Tolman is an active member of several professional organizations including the American Chemical Society, the Society for Biological Inorganic Chemistry and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. He is the chair-elect for the Gordon Research Conference "Metals in Biology" in 2011. Tolman also serves as associate editor of Inorganic Chemistry and is on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Academy of Science, a statewide organization committed to promoting interest in and appreciation of science.


Tolman received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Wesleyan University in 1983 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1987. Tolman also served as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT from 1987 to 1990.

August 5, 2009