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Hubin Wins 2012 Bernhardt Academic Excellence Award

April 18, 2012

Bernhardt Award
Dr. Tim Hubin (far right) won the Bernhardt Academic Excellence Award for 2012 at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford. The award for exceptional achievement in teaching, scholarship and service is made possible by Dr. William and Theta Juan Bernhardt (centered) of Midwest City. SWOSU President Randy Beutler (left) is also pictured. Hubin won a $5,000 cash award made possible by the Bernhardts.

Dr. Tim Hubin is the winner of the Bernhardt Academic Excellence Award for 2012, which was presented during the annual Bernhardt banquet held April 17 at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.

Hubin, associate professor in the SWOSU Department of Chemistry and Physics, won the prestigious award at a banquet held in the Memorial Student Center on the SWOSU campus. For winning the award, Hubin received at $5,000 cash award and Waterford crystal clock.

SWOSU alumni Dr. William and Theta Juan Bernhardt of Midwest City are sponsors of the annual award that goes to an outstanding faculty member who exhibits exceptional achievement in teaching, scholarship and service. Guest speaker for the evening was Rep. Harold Wright, a 1971 graduate of SWOSU.

Dr. Tim Hubin was raised in the town of Hanston (KS), where he was valedictorian of his 1990 graduating class and a National Merit Finalist. He chose high school teaching as his likely career and decided to attend Kansas State University, where he graduated with a B.S. in secondary science education and another B.S. in chemistry in 1994.

He chose to attend graduate school in chemistry at the University of Kansas rather than begin his career as a high school teacher. A fellowship at KU provided tuition and a stipend nearly equivalent to a teaching salary. The chance to work for Daryle Busch, a world famous inorganic chemist was also crucial to the decision.

Hubin was fortunate to be assigned to a project, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, aiming to improve Tide with Bleach by developing a new catalyst to better activate the cleaning compounds already present in the detergent. One of the compounds Hubin synthesized turned out to be quite effective. This compound, along with the whole class of metal complexes he developed and studied, was patented by KU and Procter & Gamble as an environmentally friendly bleach catalyst. Although no products contain these compounds (yet), six related patents have been issued on these materials and their use in various cleaners. Hubin’s Ph.D. thesis yielded 18 separate peer-reviewed publications.

After earning his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1999, he spent a year as a postdoctoral scholar in Tom Meade’s lab at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Another patent, on MRI contrast agents, resulted. Additionally and importantly, that was the year that convinced Hubin that he wanted his career to focus on teaching, with research taking a secondary yet still important, role.

He took a job with a small college in Central Kansas to gain teaching experience. Five years there provided Hubin with a wealth of chemistry teaching experience—but the small number of chemistry majors and the lack of research facilities, instrumentation and momentum—led him to look for a position where research efforts would be more supported and valued. SWOSU provided the ideal mixture of teaching and research opportunities and Hubin accepted a position in the Chemistry Department in the fall of 2005.

At SWOSU, he teaches the freshman chemistry sequence, organic chemistry occasionally and the upper level inorganic chemistry courses. His proudest achievement at SWOSU is redesigning the inorganic chemistry lab into a successful project-based mini-research experience where each student synthesizes and studies a unique compound beginning from common, simple starting materials.

Hubin maintains an active bio-inorganic research program, having received multiple externally funded grants totaling over $700,000 that have been carried out by 24 different SWOSU undergraduate researchers so far. Six of the students have already been co-authors on six published manuscripts that Hubin has authored since his arrival at SWOSU. Hubin was a recipient of the 2012 DaVinci Fellow Award from The DaVinci Institute.

His service activities at SWOSU include past or current membership on several university and departmental committees. Community service activities include the First United Methodist Church Council, Weatherford Community Band and committee chair for the Weatherford Cub Scout Pack 355.

He and wife Becki reside in Weatherford with sons David and Daniel.

Previous winners of the Bernhardt Award are (in order by year): Dr. Vilas Prabhu, Dr. Stuart Burchett, Dr. Gary Wolgamott, Dr. Terry Segress, Dr. James Hunsicker, Dr. Jill Jones, Dr. James Breckenridge, Dr. John Ludrick, Dr. W. Steven Pray, Dr. Les Crall, Dr. Peter Grant, Dr. John Hayden, Dr. Virgil Van Dusen, Steve Strickler, Dr. Mary Aspedon, Dr. John Woods, Dr. Scott Long and Dr. Charles Rogers.

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