History of the Susquehanna Valley Local Section of the American Chemical Society

The Central Pennsylvania Section of the American Chemical Society included Lycoming, Snyder, and Union Counties in addition to a number of counties near State College. Regular section meetings were held each month at State College, with two additional meetings being held at Merck (Danville) and Bucknell University each year. It was difficult for the members in the Lycoming, Union and Snyder counties to attend the meetings at State College during the winter months, and only a few from State College ever attended the meetings held at Merck and Bucknell University, because of the distance involved.

In the fall of 1956 Professor Lester Kieft from Bucknell University invited a few people from the Danville, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport area to meet at Bucknell to discuss the possibility of forming a local section in our area. The group decided to investigate the possibility of a new section and requested that Professor Kieft get all the necessary information. Professor Kieft met with the officers of the Central Pennsylvania Section at State College to explain the group’s interest in forming a new section, and subsequently contacted the national American Chemical Society to determine the necessary steps for chartering a new section.

During 1957, a small group, John Day and George Hazen from Merck (Danville), Robert Cain from Wise Potato Chip Company (Berwick), Harry Dooly from U. S. Radium (Bloomsburg), and Lester Kieft (Bucknell), made plans for a new section. A petition containing the names of 65 members of the society that resided in the Berwick, Bloomsburg, Danville, Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport areas was prepared and sent to the national office. The Central Pennsylvania Section sent a supporting letter to the national office. The petition was finally approved at the September 1958 Council Meeting and the section, 'Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society' was established with approximately seventy charter members.

The first officers were elected by mail ballot in October, 1958 and served for 15 months. The officers were:

Lester Kieft Chairman
John DayChairman Elect
George HazenSecretary
Robert CainTreasurer
Harry DoolyCouncilor
Herbert Fineberg  Alternate Councilor

The first meeting of the section was held on November 5, 1958 at Danville. The program 'Chemistry in the Local Area' involved the following six members of the section:

Robert Cain Wise Potato Chip Company
John DayMerck and Company
Harry DoolyUnited States Radium Corporation
Herbert FinebergGlyco Products
George ReedAmerican Car and Foundry
George Weinbaum  Geisinger Medical Center

During 1963, several chemists from the Wilkes Barre area inquired about the possibility of adding Luzerne County to the Susquehanna Valley Section. No decision was made and in April, 1964 the Lehigh Valley Section proposed the annexation of Lackawanna, Luzerne and Pike Counties into their section and asked if the Susquehanna Valley Section had any objections. The section objected since a number of individuals from that area were members of the Susquehanna Valley Section by choice. A letter was sent to all ACS members in annexation area to determine their preference Lehigh Valley Section or Susquehanna Valley Section. Twenty four cards were returned and 18 favored the Susquehanna Valley Section, 2 the Lehigh Valley, 3 no difference, and one had moved from the area. A petition to annex Lacka¬wanna, Luzerne and Pike Counties to the Susquehanna Valley Section was prepared for the April, 1965 Council meeting and it was approved by the Council.

In September of 2008, the section celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Joseph Priestley House.

Currently, the section includes eight counties of Pennsylvania: Lycoming, Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Montour, Columbia, Luzerne, and Lacawanna. It is part of the American Chemical Society's Electorial District III and the Mid-Atlantic American Chemical Society region (MARM). The section is currently just under 200 members strong.

Our Academic Partners

Bloomsburg University Bucknell University King's College Lycoming College Marywood University Misericordia University Penn State Hazleton Penn State Scranton Penn State Wilkes-Barre Susquehanna University University of Scranton Wilkes University


The Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society began in 1958 and serves eight counties in PA:

The section provides services for the chemistry professionals, undergraduate chemistry students, and high school students of the area.


If you need more information or would like to submit information, E-mail our Local Section Webmaster at webmaster@svs-acs.org or the National ACS Webmaster.

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