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Hired as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1977, Dr. Michael H. Powers had the opportunity to contribute to the success of hundreds of students, including one of his own daughters, who went on to enjoy professional careers in the field. The professor emeritus of chemistry developed a reputation as an excellent mentor who took a genuine interest in students, as well as a devoted colleague and friend to those who worked in the same department.
Although he served from 1989 until his retirement as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics, Dr. Powers spent many years in the classroom. His primary teaching responsibilities included beginning level courses in the chemistry major, General Chemistry I and II; the general education course, Introduction to the Sciences: Chemistry; and the two upper-division, one-semester courses, Physical Chemistry I and II. He also initiated two new courses at Central, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry and Communication Skills in Chemistry.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Powers was instrumental in many professional organizations and efforts to advance chemistry studies. This includes the Teachers, Industry and the Environment Workshop, a statewide industry-teacher partnership program designed to get teachers involved in projects with people in industry and environmental enforcement, and to help teachers relate classroom concepts to the real world. He was an active member of the TIE Planning Committee.
Dr. Powers earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Emporia State University, Emporia, Kan., and a master’s degree and doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.