Two UGA professors have been named members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Paul von Ragué Schleyer, Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry, and Susan R. Wessler, Regents Professor of Plant Biology, were named to the prestigious academy, which was founded in 1780. Both are faculty members in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
The academy has elected as Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 170 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Von Ragué Schleyer and Wessler were the only two honorees from the state of Georgia this year.
Von Ragué Schleyer was born in Cleveland, Ohio. After attending Princeton and Harvard universities, he returned to Princeton and was named Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry in 1969. In 1976, he joined the University of Erlangen, Germany, as co-director of the Organic Institute and was the founding director of its Computer Chemistry Center (1993). Schleyer became professor emeritus at Erlangen in 1998, but is continuing his career as Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry at UGA.
A native of New York City, Wessler received her bachelor’s degree in biology, with honors, from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1974 and her doctoral degree in biochemistry from Cornell University in 1980. After serving a postdoctoral fellowship in the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. (sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the Carnegie Foundation), she began her career at UGA in 1983 as an assistant professor of botany (now plant sciences), rising through the ranks to full professor of botany in 1992. She became a professor of botany and genetics in the fall of 1993 and a research professor in 1994. She is the recipient of UGA’s Creative Research Medal (1991) and the Lamar Dodd Award (1997). In 1998 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and in 2004 was elected Councilor of the Academy.
Her latest honors include being named Regents Professor in 2005 and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor in 2006.