LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction Honorees
The LSU College of Science’s Hall of Distinction recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in their endless pursuit of excellence and fervent dedication to scientific leadership. Through their extraordinary achievements, outstanding characters, and commitments to their communities, the college’s honorees have established lasting legacies of excellence in their individual fields. When appropriate, the college will also recognize an industry partner who has made a transformational investment or is engaged in a dynamic conversation with the potential of high-value to LSU and to our college.
Join us as we recognize the exceptional accomplishments of the College of Science’s 2023 Hall of Distinction honorees.
E. Ward Plummer, Boyd Professor, Physics & Astronomy (posthumously)
Dr. E. Ward Plummer was one of the world’s leading experts in electron spectroscopy and its application to the study of the electronic structure of a range of materials, with a particular emphasis on surface properties. He was a central part of the team that developed single-electron spectroscopy, which enabled the first-ever glimpse into electronic energy levels of atoms at the surface of a metal.
Plummer was 68 when he joined the LSU faculty in 2009 and was already an accomplished physicist, having earned his B.A. in physics and mathematics from Lewis and Clark College in 1962, followed by his Ph.D. in physics at Cornell University in 1967. After completing a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), he remained a staff scientist at the institute until 1973. In the fall of 1972, Plummer went into academia starting in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, followed in 1993 by a joint appointment as a Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Tennessee and as a Distinguished Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and finally to the Department of Physics and Astronomy at LSU in 2009, where he was given the university’s highest, most prestigious honor of being named a Boyd Professor in 2017. In 2006, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors bestowed upon an American scientist.
Plummer's irreplaceable contribution to LSU was his commitment to transforming the fragmented materials efforts at LSU, which had concentrated on individual investigators, into a more coherent collaboration, bringing together faculty from different departments and colleges. He served as Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of Research at LSU and developed the Institute for Advanced Materials and the Shared Instrumentation Facility (SIF) at LSU that formed a partnership between LSU’s Office of Research & Economic Development (ORED), the Colleges of Science and Engineering, 13 departments, and over 100 faculty involved in Materials Research and Engineering on the LSU campus. This had a tremendous impact in bringing people together and forming collaborations that pushed the scientific frontier, a recurring characteristic throughout his career. This collaboration between interdisciplinary materials researchers was instrumental in bringing a DOE Neutron Scattering Center to LSU. His resolve to raise LSU's level of recognition extended far beyond materials science as well. Plummer continuously worked to nominate his LSU colleagues for national awards, significantly increasing recognition given to faculty members across the Colleges of Science and Engineering.
His ability to bring like-minded visionaries together was recognized on an international level when he served as the Scientific Advisor for the International Center for Quantum Structures sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In that role, he worked to build a pool of talented professionals with international vision and formed a dual degree program with the help of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where students would split time taking courses and doing research at both LSU and institutes in China. Chinese President Xi Jinping presented Ward with the Award for International Science and Technology Cooperation in 2017.
Perhaps Plummer's most enduring legacy is in the next generation of scientists he impacted. Over his faculty career of about 47 years, he mentored more than 50 graduate students and more than 30 postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have gone on to distinguished scientific careers themselves. Plummer’s legacy will continue at LSU as he left a portion of his estate to endow a Superior Graduate Student Scholarship and Plummer Professorship at LSU. One of Ward's favorite quotations, which he posted on his website, was, "My legacy will be the minds I molded; not the papers I wrote or the prizes I won." Plummer passed away on July 23, 2020, at age 79.
Eileen Skelly Frame, Chemistry Alumna (posthumously)
A true trailblazer, kicking in glass ceilings at every turn, the late Dr. Eileen Mary Skelly Frame had expertise in both fundamental and applied research in the field of atomic spectroscopy, as well as professional stints in the US Military Academy at West Point, General Electric Corporation, Research Triangle Institute, her own company (Full Spectrum Analytical Consultants), and teaching affiliations with Union College in Schenectady, NY and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, she attended Drexel University and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1975, receiving the American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry and the C. E. Etting Award for Outstanding Student in the College of Science. As an undergraduate, she enrolled in Drexel’s ROTC program and was the first woman to be commissioned from this program. She served as a Medical Service Corps officer in the U.S. Army for 11 years, rising to the rank of Captain. As the Army’s only female chemist, she was given the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D., ultimately choosing LSU, and earned her doctorate in 1982 under Professor Jim Robinson (LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction, 2011). She then attended the Medical Service Corps Advanced Course at Fort Sam Houston, becoming the first female chemistry professor at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point.
Following her military service, she joined the General Electric Corporation and supervised the atomic spectroscopy laboratory at GE’s Research and Development Center in Niskayuna, N.Y. After a year as the Inorganic Chemistry Research Program Director at the Research Triangle Institute, Frame returned to New York and established Full Spectrum Analytical Consultants, providing informed advice, training, and technical writing for industrial, academic, and government clients. Wanting to get back into teaching, she held positions as Clinical and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at both Union College, in Schenectady, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy.
Frame was a 45-year member of the American Chemical Society and served one year as the local section Chair. With her husband George, she was the co-author of a 1200-page textbook, Undergraduate Instrumental Analysis, the 6th edition of Professor Robinson’s ground breaking series, a later updated 1900 page 7th edition, and finally, a “condensed “ 900 page text book, “Instrumental Analytical Chemistry,” suitable for a one semester course. Thousands of this latest version are being sold each year. Eileen delivered that manuscript to the publisher one week before she passed away. She and George met at the 1988 Analytical Chemistry Gordon Research Conference at the Hampton School and married in July 1989. Frame was an avid LSU football fan and was delighted to follow their undefeated 2019 season, just missing their national championship win. Frame passed away in January 2020 following a year-long battle with cancer.
Gregg DeMar, Executive Committee member, LSU Foundation National Board
A native of New Orleans and a long-time friend of the LSU College of Science, Mr. Gregg DeMar has had an impressive 34-year career at IBM Corporation and has built a remarkable record of service along the way. DeMar earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Engineering and Applied Physics from Harvard University and joined IBM in 1976 where his career spanned a range of sales, marketing, management, and executive roles. He held executive positions in Baton Rouge, Dallas, Raleigh, Detroit, and New York, including three global executive leadership positions. In his last assignment, he served as the managing director in the Communications Sector where he had overall responsibility for leading and integrating IBM business across all IBM units in support of a Fortune 10 Communications Industry Corporate Client and its international affiliates.
At the invitation of former LSU College of Science Dean Peter Rabideau, DeMar joined the then College of Basic Sciences Development Council in 1992, which is now known as the LSU College of Science Executive Committee. During his 31 years on the committee, he has provided support and wisdom to four College of Science deans: Peter Rabideau, Harold Silverman, Kevin Carman, and Cynthia Peterson. DeMar has enjoyed the many opportunities to engage with different departments and their faculty and students, learn more about the college’s different programs, and work with other Dean’s Circle members to enhance and evolve these programs for future students.
While serving on the Executive Committee, DeMar concurrently held the role of IBM Diversity Executive at Southern University in Baton Rouge for many years. Since 1995, DeMar has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Barton College in Wilson, NC, as Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2011 through 2016, and as Chair of the Presidential Search Committee from 2014 through 2015. He also served from 2006 through 2015 as the Chair of the Trustee Ministry for his Stamford, CT home church, Union Baptist Church.
DeMar currently resides in Houston, Texas. with his wife, the former Hyacinth Rodney of New Orleans, LA. They have three children, Brent DeMar of Chicago, IL; Troy DeMar of Norwalk, CT; and Keri DeMar of San Francisco, CA.
Our Lady of the Lake Health, LSU College of Science 2023 Industry Champion
Our Lady of the Lake Health is a not-for-profit Catholic healthcare ministry based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with more than 7,500 employees committed to serving the Capital Region and building a healthy community through excellence in patient care and education. With an 800-bed Regional Medical Center, a dedicated Children’s Hospital, a 78-bed hospital in Gonzales, Louisiana, two freestanding emergency rooms in outlying parishes, and a 600+ provider Physician Group, Our Lady of the Lake Health provides comprehensive healthcare services for common to complex conditions. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center is a primary teaching site for graduate medical education programs in partnership with LSU, and is recognized in the areas of heart and vascular, trauma and emergency care, stroke, cancer care, advanced surgical procedures, minimally invasive procedures, and more. Our Lady of the Lake is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, one of Louisiana’s largest private employers, with more than 18,000 team members.
Last February, Our Lady of the Lake Health committed $170 million over the next 10 years to set a new standard for healthcare delivery, research, and education. This unprecedented level of investment establishes Our Lady of the Lake Health as LSU’s exclusive Championship Healthcare Partner, and now the LSU College of Science’s Industry Champion. Our Lady of the Lake is investing $85 million each in academics- and athletics-focused initiatives, including $15 million to construct the Our Lady of the Lake Health Interdisciplinary Science Building. This crucial space will be home to the LSU College of Science, the springboard for more than half of Louisiana’s physicians, and will instantly close more than half of the college’s current gap in educational and lab space needs. The Our Lady of the Lake Health Interdisciplinary Science Building will create an epicenter for academics, research, and industry collaboration and a hub for collaborating on nearly $35 million in annual research awards.