Mohan Invested as Hess Professor of Chemistry
Ram Mohan poses with Wendell Hess after being invested as the
Wendell and Loretta Hess Professor of Chemistry.
Sept. 5, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Professor of Chemistry Ram Mohan was formally invested as the
Wendell and Loretta Hess Professor of Chemistry on Sept. 4 during the annual President’s Convocation at Illinois Wesleyan University. Mohan is the first to hold the Hess Professorship,
which was established in 2012 through a gift to the Transforming Lives fundraising
campaign by the University’s provost emeritus Wendell Hess and his wife, Loretta.
In recognizing Mohan’s appointment, President Richard F. Wilson noted that endowed
professorships are reserved for faculty who have distinguished themselves through
exemplary teaching and active engagement of students, outstanding scholarship and/or
artistic achievement, and service at the highest levels of the University.
Provost and Dean of the Faculty Jonathan Green introduced Mohan as “internationally
recognized for his contributions to green chemistry.” Mohan’s research has received
numerous grants from organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the American
Chemical Society and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.
His work, which has been widely published in scientific journals, focuses on developing
environmentally friendly organic synthesis using bismuth and iron compounds. Bismuth
and its compounds are non-toxic and attractive from a green chemistry perspective.
“A champion for the creation of meaningful undergraduate research opportunities and
an advocate for the publication of that research, Dr. Mohan has supervised over 90
undergraduate research students and co-published over 50 articles with his students
in peer-reviewed journals,” Green said at the convocation. “He has become a true role
model of a research-mentor and a teacher-scholar.”
A 1985 graduate of Hansraj College in Delhi, India, Mohan earned a master’s degree
in organic chemistry from the University of Delhi in 1987 and a doctorate in chemistry
from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), in 1992. Following that
he conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In 2011, the Illinois Heartland Section of the American Chemical Society named Mohan
Chemist of the Year. He received the distinguished alumni award from UMBC in 2002
and the Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar award in 2001.
Formal investitures are traditionally held as part of the University’s Commencement
ceremonies, but Mohan was on sabbatical this past academic year as a Fulbright-Nehru
Teacher Scholar in India. Mohan previously held the Earl and Marian A. Beling Professorship
of Natural Sciences.
Wendell Hess, himself a professor of chemistry, and his wife Loretta came to Illinois
Wesleyan in 1963, when Wendell Hess joined the chemistry faculty. Hess served Wesleyan
for 27 years in such roles as department chair, director of science programs, twice
as associate dean, provost and as acting president in 1988. Wilson recognized the
couple, who attended the President’s Convocation on Wednesday.
Contact: Kim Hill, (309) 556-3960,