The Chemistry Department

Lord Lecture Series: Designing Medicine’s Holy Grail

Joseph Harding, Ph.D., professor of integrative physiology and neuroscience at Washington State University, will present the annual Lord Lecture at Allegheny College at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 9, in Ford Memorial Chapel. His talk, “Designing Medicine’s Holy Grail: Development and Therapeutic Potential of Small Molecule Growth Factor Mimics,” is free and open to the public.

Lord Lecture details

The Major

The chemistry program is structured so that students become intimately acquainted with the facts concerning the nature of chemical reactions while also developing a critical understanding of the logic and theory that unite these bits of information into a coherent whole. In addition, through both independent and collaborative laboratory experiences, chemistry majors discover the connections among the subdisciplines of chemistry. The Junior/Senior Seminar familiarizes students with recent advances in chemical research and prepares them for the Senior Project.


  • Since 1920 the department has ranked in the top 5 percent among private undergraduate institutions in production of eventual Ph.Ds.
  • Close student-faculty contact, especially junior and senior years.
  • Professors’ excellence in and commitment to teaching at all levels.
  • A curriculum connecting the sub-disciplines of chemistry and providing an abundance of laboratory experiences.
  • Opportunities and facilities for student research, including the required Senior Project.
  • Rigorous academic standards.

Key Benefits

  • Sound preparation for graduate study, professional training, or employment in the chemical sciences.
  • Appreciation for intellectual rigor and the discipline necessary to attain it.
  • Independence, creativity, and substantial laboratory skills.
  • Critical reasoning skills that encompass the interplay between theory and experiment.
  • The experience of learning as a collective phenomenon and participation in the advancement of knowledge as part of a group.

Top 25 Baccalaureate Colleges for Producing Eventual Chemistry Ph.D.s
2006-2015 (most recent data)¹

Carleton College 59
Allegheny College 50
College of Wooster 41
Franklin & Marshall College 39
Furman University 37
Reed College 36
St. Olaf College 36
Grinnell College 33
University of Richmond 33
Harvey Mudd College 31
College of the Holy Cross 30
Macalester College 30
Kalamazoo College 28
Albion College 27
Williams College, Williamstown 27
Hope College 26
Juniata College 26
University of Puget Sound 25
Lafayette College 24
Willamette University 24
Calvin College 23
Haverford College 23
University of Puerto Rico at Cayey 23
Whitman College 23
Colby College 22

Allegheny Compared to the Ivy League Schools
2006-2015 (most recent data)¹

Cornell University 94
Harvard University 75
Allegheny College 50
Princeton University 38
University of Pennsylvania 32
Columbia University in the City of New York 31
Dartmouth College 30
Yale University 29
Brown University 22

¹Source: NSF WebCASPAR Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System (, accessed 11 October 2017.


  • “Allegheny has a fabulous national reputation for science and just in general. There are some exciting experiments in science education going on at Allegheny. They’re turning out lots of great products, and I want to see what the secret is here.” — Harry Gray, director of the Beckman Institute at CalTech, Priestley Medalist, and past Lord Lecturer at Allegheny
  • Grants totaling over $518,000 from the National Science Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund, and other foundations support faculty and undergraduate research projects.
  • A grant of over $118,000 from the Thomas Lord Charitable Trust supports the teaching and learning of chemistry through technology-assisted instruction.
  • “I had always believed that being a medical doctor was the best way to help people and to save lives. But my experience at Allegheny and an internship in synthetic organic chemistry changed my mind. I realized I could have a major impact by conducting research and developing new drugs.” — Aaron Balog ’91, member of special anti-cancer research team, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City
  • “In Allegheny’s labs, I used to make new compounds that no one else had, and that’s where the thrill is, in doing something new.” — Dr. William Wilcko ’76, orthodontist and co-developer of Wilckodontics, a patented surgical procedure that accelerates the tooth alignment process and dramatically decreases the amount of time patients must wear braces.
  • Department is accredited by the American Chemical Society.