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June 17, 2021

Nobel-winning chemist appointed Visiting Hannah Distinguished Professor

Nobel laureate Robert H. Grubbs has been appointed as a Visiting Hannah Distinguished Professor, the most prestigious faculty appointment at Michigan State University.


Grubbs is serving as the special adviser to the provost on honorifics. In this role he will be providing guidance and leadership to advance university laude and individual honorifics at MSU. Honorifics and awards granted to faculty contribute to the quality of the university in significant ways, enabling MSU to attract and retain a talented workforce and the best scholars and researchers in particular fields. Creating and maintaining a culture that actively encourages faculty to apply and nominate others for external award opportunities is the primary goal of this work.


“Both the faculty and the university benefit from honorifics and awards that accompany a community of accomplished and internationally renowned faculty who have made significant contributions to their disciplines and to the general body of knowledge,” said MSU Provost Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “Dr. Grubbs will provide his expert guidance to a group tasked with assisting faculty, department chairs and deans with the process of identifying awards, submitting nominees and celebrating awards won by MSU faculty.”


Grubbs is currently the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he has been a faculty member since 1978. Before moving to Caltech, he worked at MSU from 1969 to 1978, where he achieved the rank of associate professor. In 2005, he was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry (with R. R. Schrock and Y. Chauvin) for his contributions to the field of olefin metathesis. He received an honorary Doctor of Science from MSU in 2006 and was appointed as a Visiting Hannah Distinguished Professor at MSU in the Department of Chemistry from 2013 through 2017.

By: Cathy Burns

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