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The Donald J. Bettinger Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

On Friday, April 15, 2016, Ohio Northern University held a naming and dedication ceremony for the Donald J. Bettinger Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Bettinger served as faculty and chair of the department from 1963-79. The dedication was made possible by his son, Walt Bettinger, and the Bettinger family.

Scroll down for photos from the ceremony

Dr. Donald J. Bettinger was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Additionally, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. He was a professor of chemistry at Davidson College, West Virginia University, Denison University and Ohio Northern University, where he chaired the chemistry department and the science division.

Bettinger was a major mover in the establishment of the Lima Section of the American Chemical Society, for which he served as first chairman. He spent the final years of his career serving the students at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Ky. In 1991, he retired and moved to Florida, where he served in nursing home and literacy ministries. In 2000, he moved to Twinsburg, Ohio. Bettinger passed away Dec. 6, 2013, at the age of 86.

Departmental growth under Bettinger’s leadership

  • ONU’s chemistry department faculty grew from one Ph.D., one M.S. and one B.S. holder to seven Ph.D. holders
  • The department became the first chemistry program in northwest Ohio to be approved by the American Chemical Society for the professional education of chemists. At the time, only one in five chemistry programs nationwide received this recognition.
  • The department received grants from the National Science Foundation, the Atomic Energy Commission, Health Education and Welfare, Research Corporation, and Central Ohio Heart Association.
  • A $3,250,000 science building was planned and constructed.
  • ONU became the site of the annual regional Junior Academy of Science.
  • ONU was chosen for the statewide meeting of the Ohio College Chemistry Teachers Association.

ONU campus activities

  • Instrumental in founding a campus-wide Honors Day and served as first president of ONU’s Honors Council.
  • Instrumental in founding Phi Alpha Kappa (the Liberal Arts College Scholastic Honorary of ONU) and served as the group’s first president.
  • Instrumental in bringing the Society of the Sigma Xi Club to ONU’s campus and served as the group’s first president.
  • President of Phi Kappa Phi chapter.
  • Served on the following ONU academic committees: Curriculum Committee, Policy Committee, Library Council, Development Council, Research Committee, Pre-medical Committee and Religious Council.
  • Held offices with the American Chemical Society, Ohio Academy of Science, American Institute of Chemists and the Ohio College Chemistry Teachers Association.