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Noted UGA chemist Gregory H. Robinson receives SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Gregory H. Robinson

Athens, Ga. – Gregory H. Robinson, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, has been named the University of Georgia’s 2014 recipient of the Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.

The award, which is administered by SEC provosts, recognizes one faculty member from each of the 14 SEC schools and includes a $5,000 honorarium. Robinson joined the UGA faculty in 1995 and was named Distinguished Research Professor in 2000, Franklin Professor in 2005 and Foundation Distinguished Professor in 2013.

“Dr. Robinson excels as a scholar and as an instructor who demonstrates an outstanding level of commitment to the university and to his field,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “He represents the University of Georgia with distinction in all that he does and is most deserving of this honor.”

Over the past 25 years, Robinson and his team have published a series of fundamental findings that have reshaped how scientists view chemical bonding in many inorganic compounds. His achievements have been described as groundbreaking, and his work is internationally recognized. Robinson has presented his research in nearly 150 peer-reviewed journal articles, six book chapters, a book, and dozens of regional, national and international conference presentations.

The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences professor has received a number of honors, including the Humboldt Research Award granted by Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The award is granted in recognition of a researcher’s career achievements and is granted to those academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories or insights have significantly impacted their own discipline. Robinson also recently received the F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry, sponsored by the American Chemical Society, which recognizes distinguished work in synthetic inorganic chemistry and places a high premium on creativity and imagination. His additional awards include the National Science Foundation’s Award for Special Creativity, the Percy L. Julian Award of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, and the University’s Lamar Dodd Research Award.

Robinson teaches a range of courses in chemistry, including large introductory chemistry classes, upper-division inorganic chemistry courses and graduate-level seminars. Student evaluations speak of his “great personality,” his “great sense of humor,” and his “ability to break concepts up into their most basic parts to allow for complete conceptual understanding.” Robinson also has taught several First-Year Odyssey Seminars and he has supervised nearly three dozen undergraduates conducting research in his lab. He has served as major professor for 15 doctoral-level students and sponsored a number of post-doctoral fellows in his lab.

Despite his research and teaching commitments, Robinson is active in service to his university and to his profession. On campus, he mentors student-athletes and serves on the UGA Research Foundation as well as on the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors. He recently served on search committees for the dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. He has been a consultant or panelist for the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation and sits on the editorial boards of seven journals in his field. He has chaired panels at regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society and is president-elect of the Northeast Georgia Section of the American Chemical Society. Robinson also visits elementary schools to talk with children about chemistry and what it means to be a chemist.

Robinson received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Jacksonville State University and earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Alabama.

The SEC Faculty Achievement Awards honor professors with outstanding records in teaching and scholarship who serve as role models for other faculty and students. SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners become their university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award, the winner of which receives an additional $15,000 honorarium. The awards were first presented in 2012, and the SEC is thought to be the first National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I conference to honor faculty for their achievements in research and scholarship, completely unrelated to athletics or student-athletes.