Chemistry Lecturer Honored by Senior Class as Collins Outstanding Professor

As Collins Professor, Thomas D. McGrath, Ph.D., will give a special lecture on May 4, reflecting on his path from Scotland to Baylor, his teaching and cluster chemistry

April 19, 2023
Thomas D. McGrath, Ph.D., senior lecturer of chemistry and undergraduate program director, Baylor University

Thomas D. McGrath, Ph.D., senior lecturer of chemistry and undergraduate program director at Baylor University

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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by Lexi Nitishin, student news writer, Baylor University Media and Public Relation

WACO, Texas (April 19, 2023) –  Thomas D. McGrath, Ph.D., senior lecturer of chemistry and undergraduate program director in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Baylor University, has been selected as the 2023 Collins Outstanding Professor, an honor voted on annually by the senior class.

The Collins Outstanding Professor Award is provided by the Carr P. Collins Foundation, which recognizes and honors outstanding teachers at Baylor University.

“I love my job. It’s really the students who make teaching here so special,” McGrath said. “I’ve been blessed to be able to interact with so many great students over the years, and so for the senior class to honor me in this way is both fantastic and humbling.”

The Collins Professor receives an award of $10,000, recognition in University publications and citation on a plaque. As Collins Professor, McGrath will gave a special lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 4, in Room B110 of the Baylor Sciences Building. His topic – “How to Build a Soccer Ball” – will discuss his path from Scotland to Baylor, reflections on teaching and cluster chemistry, which alludes to his topic as some molecules are actually shaped like a soccer ball.

“It’s no accident that chemistry is often called ‘the central science’ since it does underpin so many other subjects,” McGrath said. “I like to remind my students that many of the topics we learn in freshman year are not only the foundation for organic and biochemistry but also are involved in much that our modern way of life depends on in medicine, nutrition and agriculture.”

Before joining Baylor, McGrath grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. He received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. In fall 1999, McGrath came to Baylor to join the research group of distinguished chemistry professor F.G.A. Stone, Ph.D. He then transitioned to a teaching position in 2006.


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