We, the CGP (Chemistry Graudate Program) students or Doering fellows, were deeply saddened by the death of Professor William von Eggers Doering of Harvard University on January 3, 2011 at the age of 93.
Professor Doering was a giant in chemistry. In his lifetime he made numerous legendary research achievements. “[H]is most important chemical legacy may well be his least celebrated one: Opening up China’s then-insular chemistry and chemistry education communities to the West in the wake of the Cultural Revolution,” as stated in the article “Trailblazing Program Devised by William Doering Opened the West to Chinese Chemists” by Amanda Yarnell in Chemical & Engineering News in October 2008.
The political upheaval of the Cultural Revolution in 1966-1976 forced the closure of many Chinese universities, and few were allowed to contact the western world. After China started to open the door to the West in the late 1970s, Professor Doering devised the idea of the CGP or the “Doering Program” to send young Chinese graduate students to study chemistry at top American and Canadian universities. The program, coordinated by Professor Doering, the Chinese Ministry of Education, and Fudan University in Shanghai, sent about 250 Chinese chemistry students to pursue their PhD studies in North America. The program “opened a big gate for tens of thousands of Chinese chemistry students" to pursue advanced studies, stated Professor Guanxian Xu of Peking University. Many of these students have become leaders in the Chinese chemistry communities. The United States and Canada have also greatly benefited from the talent pool of Chinese graduate students. As then American Chemical Society President Bruce E. Bursten said in the Chemical & Engineering News article, “CGP changed the landscape of chemistry forever.” “For the Doering fellows, the opportunity to come to the U.S. had a transformative effect, both personally and professionally,” stated accurately in the article. We were fortunate to be able to study under some of the world's best chemists.
We were fortunate to have several opportunities to gather together with Professor Doering, most recently at the CGP Symposium in July, 2008 in Tianjin, China, to celebrate the success and achievements of the CGP program. In this symposium in his honor at the 26th Congress of Chinese Chemical Society, Professor Doering gave a historical account of the CGP program which was published, along with the account by Professor Kangnian Fan of Fudan University, in University Chemistry (大学化学) in 2009.
Dear Professor Doering, we are all grateful to the opportunities you created for us and will forever remember the seminal contributions you made in opening the West to Chinese chemists. You will live forever in our hearts!
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to either
The Shady Hill School 178 Coolidge Hill Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
The CGP-Doering Foundation c/o Bao-Lu Chen 2291 Magnolia Bridge Drive San Ramon, CA 94582
The CGP Symposium was a resounding success! Please stay tuned for more information. Here is a group picture of all participants. It is just one of many many pictures we took at the event.
The CGP-Doering Foundation is sponsoring its first event - The CGP Symposium in Tianjin, China, on July 13-14, 2008 that will bring chemistry educators, students, industry representatives, and former CGP students from both the US and China. In particular, Prof. Doering has been invited to give a keynote speech at the symposium regarding the CGP program and his vision of chemistry. It is our hope that this symposium in his honor will encourage Chinese graduate students to pursue a career in chemistry and foster dialogue among different sectors of chemistry.