Irving Shain Chair in Chemistry Propels Department Leadership

Members of the Shain family and campus leaders gathered in Oct. 2015 to celebrate the creation of the Shain Chair.
Chemistry faculty, campus leaders, and members of the Shain family celebrated the creation of the Irving Shain Chair in Chemistry in October 2015. Pictured left to right are: Professor Bassam Shakhashiri, John Shain, College of Letters & Science Dean Karl Scholz, Chancellor and Professor Emeritus Irving Shain, Department Chair and Shain Chair of Chemistry Robert McMahon, and Paul Shain.

The newly created Irving Shain Chair in Chemistry will endow the position of department chair in the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry.

The chair serves to honor the career accomplishments and legacy of Professor and Chancellor Emeritus Irving Shain. Shain joined the faculty of the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry in 1952 and served as chair of the department from 1967-70. He was named chancellor of the university in 1977 and continued in this role until 1986. As chancellor, he established University Research Park and began student exchange programs with China. The impact of these exchange programs continues today.

A desire to honor Shain’s impressive legacy at UW-Madison inspired his sons, John and Paul, to create a faculty chair in the Department of Chemistry.

Professor and Department Chair Robert McMahon is the inaugural holder of the Irving Shain Chair in Chemistry. The Shain Chair will pass from department chair to department chair in order to provide support for the chair’s research program while he or she serves in this essential leadership role. The support provided by the Irving Shain Chair in Chemistry will help department chairs as they seek to navigate their dual roles as principal investigator and department chair.

“Irving Shain established an extraordinary record of accomplishment in scholarly research and in leadership,” McMahon says. “Through the generosity of John and Paul Shain, their father’s dedication to excellence will stand as a permanent guidepost to all future faculty members in the Department. I am deeply honored to be the inaugural holder of the Shain Chair.”

Thanks to generous pledges and gifts from chemistry alumni and friends, the Department of Chemistry will receive four new professorships and chairs by 2020:

  • Lester R. McNall Professorship in Chemistry
  • Yamamoto Family Professorship in Chemistry
  • Irving Shain Chair in Chemistry
  • Wayland E. Noland Distinguished Chair in Chemistry

All four were among the more than 150 new professorships and chairs given through the Morgridge Match initiative.

—Libby Dowdall