Barnard College Commencement
Monday, May 14, 2012
New York City

Photo: David Wentworth/Barnard College

Sally Chapman. Professor of Chemistry. Champion for women in science. Beloved member of our faculty for nearly 37 years.

When you arrived at Barnard, your brilliance was already proven—summa cum laude from Smith, a PhD from Yale, two post-doctorates from the University of California. Then, in landing this coveted tenure-track job, so rare for women at the time, you had begun a fight for gender equity in the field that you continue to this day. In decades of unparalleled service to the College you have been a mentor to countless Barnard students, and an inspiration to even more. You’ve taught general chemistry year after year, and the mysteries of thermodynamics and kinetics and quantum chemistry to those who choose to major. The young scientists whose lives you’ve touched have gone on to do great things, with untold achievements still to come. They have you to thank and your example to go by.

Among your colleagues, the reaction you elicit, chemical and otherwise, is unanimous. They rightly call you the conscience of Barnard—as fearless in debate as you are in life—and their respect for you is immeasurable. Leader, mentor, advocate, and researcher, you hold yourself and others, this College and our students, to the highest possible standards, and we rise to the occasion.

It is elemental, Professor Chapman, that you and Barnard have bonded. On behalf of the graduates and your distinguished colleagues, I am truly honored to present you with the 2012 Medal of Distinction for your extraordinary commitment to the advancement of women, the education of chemists, and the liberal art of science.

Full coverage of Barnard's 2012 Commencement.