A Brief History of the Major in Chemistry at Morehouse College

The major in chemistry at Morehouse College was instituted in 1916 when Burwell T. Harvey (B.S., Colgate University, M.S., Columbia University) became the Chair of the department. Incidentally, B.T. Harvey Stadium, completed in 1983, was named in honor of him, as "B.T." also holds an accolade for being the most successful athletics coach in Morehouse history.

From 1916 until 1957, there was but one graduate from the department to obtain a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree in chemistry when, in 1937,  Kimuel A. Huggins (B.S. 1923) obtained the Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago. 

From 1957 to 1981, however, there were forty-five (45) graduates from the department to earn their Ph.D. degree. It is notable that during this exceptionally productive time for the department, approximately half this number of chemistry graduates obtained M.D. degrees, as well.  The first chemistry graduate of this cohort, Dolphus E. Milligan (B.S. 1949), earned the Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and went on to have an esteemed career in public service at what is now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Overseeing this all was Henry C. McBay (pictured above; B.S. Wiley College, M.S. Atlanta University, Ph.D. University of Chicago) who served as Chair during this extraordinary period.  Recipient of numerous awards for his contributions to chemistry, especially for his outstanding achievement in the teaching of chemistry, Dr. McBay is regarded to this day as the singular voice who, through education, inspired hundreds of young Morehouse undergraduates achieve greatness in the sciences.

In harmony with this historical thrust and the overall objectives of Morehouse College, the primary objective of the Department of Chemistry today is to develop the ability and desire of students to apply the techniques of sustained and objective critical analysis to the solution of problems of both scientific and social interest.