In 1972, Vern Hicks began his career as NKU’s first and only Physical Chemist and remained as such until his retirement in 2010. In addition to Physical Chemistry, Vern also taught general chemistry, chemistry and society, introduction to chemistry and his beloved quantum mechanics. He received his B.S. in 1965 from Emory and Henry College and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt in 1974. Hicks was named 2008 Cincinnati Chemist of the Year by the Cincinnati section of the American Chemical Society. His other honors include: NKU Outstanding Professor Award in 1993, the KSTA Outstanding Science Teacher Award for Post-Secondary Teachers in 2000, and the prestigious Acorn Award in 2010.
Following two years as a postdoctoral student at University of Illinois, Dr. Robert Kempton started teaching organic chemistry at NKU in 1976. He received his Ph.D. from Fordham University in 1975, M.S. from Auburn in 1969 and B.S. from St. Peter's College in 1966. Kempton has been the leader in establishing undergraduate research on campus and still works with students. He taught organic chemistry, spectroscopy and advanced organic synthesis and received the honor of Regents Professor in 1993.
Dr. Vinay Kumar began teaching general chemistry in the fall 1970 and holds the distinction of being the first chemistry faculty hired by NKU (then Northern Kentucky State College). Kumar received his M.S. from State University of New York at Oswego in 1967 and his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 1970. Kumar taught analytical chemistry, instrumental analysis, chemistry and society and introduction to chemistry.
Dr. Jim Niewahner began his career at NKU in 1970 as an academic counselor and financial aid officer after receiving his Ph.D. from Colorado State University. He taught mostly general chemistry in addition to organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physiological chemistry and chemistry and society.
Dr. Bill Oliver joined NKU in 1972. He earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at Iowa State University in 1969 and worked at Procter and Gamble three years before moving to Northern. He taught organic chemistry, general chemistry, biochemistry, physical organic chemistry, physiological chemistry, and chemistry and society. He became the first chair of the chemistry department when it was formed in 1988 and served 16 years in that position. He retired in 2007.