Good Chemistry

Adrienne McCormick

Dr. Adrienne McCormick

Role: Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Fueling the flame: Richard S. and Barbara P. Shineman Fund

"The Shineman endowed fund will enable us to bring additional expertise into our department through the endowed chair position and will help us maintain our small faculty-to-student ratio and individualized student research opportunities. The fund also provides flexibility, supports planning and allows us to think aspirationally and expansively.”

The growth in jobs within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field is outpacing the growth in most other job areas, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. While the country has experienced an inadequate pipeline of talent to fill these positions for decades, the federal government, educational institutions and STEM industries have joined forces to fill the gap.

“There is a national imperative to increase our retention and completion in the STEM fields,” said Dr. Adrienne McCormick, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The strategic plan talks about the grand challenges of our time, and the natural sciences contribute important knowledge to the health of the country, our people and the environment. If we’re not part of the solution, then we’re really shirking our responsibility. So we really want to see our sciences and STEM enrollment grow.”

But McCormick stressed that in order to grow the student enrollment without diminishing the quality of an Oswego education and the low student-to-faculty ratio, expanded resources also need to be invested in recruiting more faculty.

That’s where the Richard S. and Barbara P. Shineman Fund comes in. The fund, established through a $5 million gift from Dr. Barbara Palmer Shineman ’65 M’71 and the Shineman Foundation, will create an endowed chair of chemistry and a general fund to support educational programs and opportunities.

Dr. Richard S. Shineman was a founding member and the first chair of the chemistry department, which was the first in SUNY accredited by the American Chemical Society and continues to place in the top three in the number of certified degrees awarded in New York.

“We are more than ready—we’re really primed—to have this additional support,” McCormick said. “With an endowed position also comes a certain amount of prestige. We might be able to recruit someone who might not otherwise consider coming to a regional comprehensive state institution.”

The endowed chair provides an additional faculty line to maintain the low student-to-faculty ratio and also brings in different expertise to the department.

“With an endowed chair position, we can look beyond covering the basics of organic, inorganic and general chemistry, and can start to think expansively and more aspirationally about what strengths and areas of expertise we might want to add to the department,” McCormick said.  

Similarly, the endowed general fund provides flexibility, supports planning and encourages innovation.

“We are grateful to receive this kind of support,” she said. "Richard Shineman laid a strong foundation when he founded the department several decades ago, and his wife and foundation's support in his name will ensure that the department's success continues in perpetuity."