Burkett Lecture Series
The Burkett Lectures at DePauw University were established in 1986 upon the retirement of Professor Howard Burkett. Their primary purpose is to honor the contributions Professor Burkett made to his students in Organic Chemistry, many of whom have gone on to noteworthy careers in science. The generous contributions of friends and former students provides an opportunity for a nationally known Chemist to visit DePauw, present a seminar, and meet with both students and faculty. As such, the Burkett Lectures are the highlight of the Department of Chemistry seminar program
The 2014 Burkett Lecture Speaker
More information to come soon!
More About Howard Burkett
Howard Benton Burkett was bornFebruary 26, 1916 to Zefa Benton and Jennie Margretta Hilljs Burkett on a farm near Morton, Indiana, where he attended a two-room school for eight years. On graduation from Bainbridge High School in 1934, he was awarded a coveted four-year Rector Scholarship to DePauw University, graduating with distinction in 1938. With an Eli Lilly Foundation fellowship, he earned his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University Wisconsin in 1942.
Howard began his research career at Eli Lilly on Vitamin A, an urgent need for the war effort. In 1945 he took a 50 percent reduction in income to return to DePauw to teach chemistry and conduct research under four separate grants. He continued teaching at DePauw University from 1945 to 1986, serving as alternating co-chairman of the DPU chemistry department from 1964.
His sabbatical research included work at the University of Washington in 1954 and 1962, pioneering NMR research for the Hitachi Corporation in Japan in 1970, and at the National Institutes of Health in 1977. Howard and his wife Lucile led a DePauw tour to Japan and often hosted international students.
During his 41 years of teaching at DePauw he authored over 17 articles in chemical research and received many awards, including Gridiron Best Teacher Award in 1966 and Outstanding Educator of America in 1975. Howard was a charter member of Beta Omicron Chapter of the Honorary Chemical Society, The Indiana Academy of Science, and served as President of the DePauw-Wabash chapter of Sigma Xi.
Howard was active in Boy Scouts, Kiwanis and his community. A man of strong faith, he had served many terms on the board and in numerous other capacities at First Christian Church. Burkett’s interests, in addition to building his own house on Shadowlawn, were traveling and camping, canoeing, sailing‚ fishing, woodworking, photography, and vegetable gardening. Every summer while his father was alive, Burkett worked on the family farm near Morton.
On August 4, 1936 Howard married Lucile Eloise Nichols, after their friendship had developed in the trumpet section of the Bainbridge High School band. They had four children: Nancee Dickson (Alfred), Harvey Benton (Troyanne Thigpen), David Howard (Winifred), Richard Allen (Nancy Coffin). Their children, 10 grandchildren, 2 step-grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren live in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Florida, New York, Illinois, and Turkey. Howard passed from this life at Asbury Towers in Greencastle, Indiana on June 15, 2009 at the age of 93 years.
Howard Burkett with Percy Lavon Julian, 1970
Howard Burkett with student, 1955
Prior Burkett Speakers