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  • Philippe Buhlmann

    MN ACS honors Professor Buhlmann for outreach, service

Professor Philippe Buhlmann has been chosen to receive the 2018 Janet Tarino Volunteer Award from the Minnesota Section of the American Chemical Society (MN ACS), honored for his commitment to outreach and service. 

Janet Tarino, a retiree from the Mansfield campus of Ohio State University, was an extraordinary volunteer in her seven years (2002-09) membership with the MN ACS Section, before moving to California, where she passed away in 2012. She was a co-founder of the Chemists-in-the-Library outreach program, demonstrator at the Science Museum of Minnesota and with the Kids and Chemistry activity, participant with the Chemistry Olympiad, and frequent judge at science fairs.

Buhlmann has been outreach chair of the MN ACS section since 2004. He co-founded the Chemists-in-the-Library outreach series with Tarino, and he continues to organize it to this day. This involves contacting libraries and organizing volunteers for every event. In recent years, Century College faculty have been restocking supplies between events, which has been a lifesaver. April 7, 2018, was the 172nd event of Chemists in the Library—typically there has been one event every month since October 2004. Buhlmann has personally participated in 148 events.

Buhlmann has served a number of times on nominating committees for the ACS section. He also has annually hosted, since 2008, high school students from the MN ACS' SEED program in his research lab. He is the Department of Chemistry’s director of Graduate Studies, a position he has held since 2012.

Buhlmann earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in chemistry from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Before joining the Department of Chemistry in September 2000, he was a post-doctoral fellow and then staff member at the University of Tokyo. In 2009, he was a visiting professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He is an expert in electrochemistry, with special interests in fluorous materials and host guest chemistry.

A dedicated researcher and teacher, Buhlmann received, in 2015, an Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education from the University of Minnesota Alumni Association. He was honored for excellence in instruction; involvement in students' research, scholarship, and professional development; development of instructional programs; and advising and mentoring of students.

As director of Graduate Studies, Buhlmann has led many initiatives, including the elimination of specialty areas, an increase in the freedom to select courses, the improvement of feedback to graduate students on their progress, and aggressive use of fellowships for recruiting. He also worked closely with Boynton Health to address stress and mental health issues for graduate students, including making students and faculty aware of resources, helping them recognize signs of stress and despair, and equipping them with knowledge to help. His initiative led to the founding of the Community of Chemistry Graduate students, a student-led organization that organizes events to improve the lifestyles of graduate students and help in their career development.