Dr. Shawn Hitchcock

Illinois State University’s Dr. Shawn Hitchcock has been named the recipient of the Dr. Henry C. McBay Outstanding Teacher Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). 

The prestigious award recognizes only one educator each year from across the nation who demonstrates outstanding contributions to the education and mentoring of young scientists and engineers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).

“Dr. Hitchcock has been recognized as an enthusiastic and highly effective teacher by both his students and his colleagues at Illinois State,” said Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Craig C. McLauchlan. “His passion for chemistry is obvious and contagious. He truly wants all students to see the joy and wonder that make chemistry so enjoyable to him.” 

A professor of organic chemistry at Illinois State, Hitchcock joined the University faculty in 1998. He is a recipient of the Outstanding College Teaching Award and the Neuleib Award for Outstanding Scholarship from the University’s College of Arts and Sciences. He has been active with the STEM Alliance (formerly known as the  Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation), and honored with the program’s Dr. Marian Wilson Comer Outstanding Service and Leadership Award. The American Chemical Society recognized his efforts in hosting the Illinois Heartland Local Section U.S. Chemistry Olympiad. 

A mentor to students, Hitchcock has guided 19 students to their masters’ degree in chemistry and more than 60 students in undergraduate research. Opportunities for students in his laboratory have led to contributions in several of his nearly 70 publications, which include the scholarly journals Synthesis, Tetrahedron: Asymmetry, Applied Organometallic Chemistry,  Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry, Journal of Organic Chemistry, and Acta Crystallographica

His laboratory of undergraduate and graduate students has been funded by the American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund and the National Science Foundation. Throughout his tenure, Hitchcock has developed and instituted systemic changes in the undergraduate laboratory courses. He co-owns a U.S. Patent for “Method for preparing Pseudonorephedrine.” 

Hitchcock earned a doctorate from University of California-Davis and conducted post-doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

The award is named for renowned chemist and educator Dr. Henry C. Ransom Cecil McBay. As the 2021 honoree of the Dr. Henry C. McBay Outstanding Teacher Award, Hitchcock joins the past winners from the University of Minnesota, Howard University, and Spelman College.