Jackson State University professor Hongtao Yu, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, received the HBCU Pioneer Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), at its recent conference.
The award is given annually to distinguished leadership in student recruitment, graduation and exceptional research. Yu was celebrated for his guidance of the department to national achievements including:
• A top-three producer of African-American chemists at all academic levels
• A top 100 chemistry department in federal funding
• Leading chemistry department in publishing, averaging seven peer-reviewed papers per faculty per year
“Dr. Yu’s dedication and enthusiasm about our students’ success is evidence of exemplary service not only to Jackson State University but also to the field of chemistry as well,” said Dr. Richard Aló, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at JSU. “We understand the importance of engaging students of color in today’s STEM fields, and we are proud that Dr. Yu is being honored for his hard work.”
Yu, who joined the JSU faculty in 1996, is engaged in research focused on chemical toxicology, organic chemistry, photochemistry, environmental chemistry and biochemistry. Among the courses he teaches are organic chemistry, special topics in biochemistry (photochemistry and photobiology) and introduction to scientific research.
“Receiving the HBCU Pioneer Award is a true testament to the hard-working, world-class faculty and staff of Jackson State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the strong leadership of the university’s administration over an extended period of time,” Yu said. “I also attribute this award to two former department chairs, Drs. Richard Sullivan and James Perkins, for their outstanding leadership and unparalleled vision.”