The Department of Chemistry was first established as a separate unit in 1911 with Dr. William McCracken as the sole faculty member. The first science building (currently known as West Hall) was erected in 1915. The M.A. program was formally approved in 1958, with the first degree granted in 1961 while the Ph. D. program originally started in 1966. Currently, the Department is in three buildings; Wood Hall (office), Haenicke Hall (research labs), and a teaching lab facility in the New Chemistry Building.

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