2005 Recipient, Agnes Ann Green
Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Gerald Delker, affectionately known as Jerry, has become a welcomed participant in the Southern California chemistry community during the past eight years. He assumed the chairmanship of the ACS High School Chemistry Olympiad for the Southern California Section and through his innovations and diligence, has expanded the program tremendously. By offering the test at multiple high schools, instead of just a few, he has increased student participation from 400 to over 1,100 students per year. He has had at least one student, and as many as four, out of 20 students nationwide, qualify for the National Chemistry Science Camp at the Air Force Academy for each year. Our Section has even qualified four students for the International Chemistry Olympiad Team.
In addition to administering the taking and grading of the written and laboratory chemistry tests, Jerry coordinates the Educational Awards Night, in which the highest performing students are honored. He clearly is joyful at the excellent performances of the students, and modestly attributes their success to them and their teachers. However, the students and teachers would not be involved without Jerry’s dedication.
Delker’s interest in educating younger people has preceded his activities with the ACS. He began as a boy scout 49 years ago, became a life scout, and for the past 24 years has been overseeing a cub scout pack. He runs a training team for adults to become scout leaders. He and his wife Kathleen have been working as leaders for the girl scouts for 25 years, conducting such activities as cookie sales, Halloween events, etc.
Jerry regularly attends the monthly Executive Committee Meetings of SCALACS, even before being elected to serve as secretary for our Section this year. In his unassuming manner, he contributes substantially to the governance by his advice and logical thought.
A native Californian, he received his B.S. in Chemistry from U.C. Riverside in 1970, and his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, Champagne/Urbana in 1976. He did postdoctoral work at UC Davis and Occidental College before starting to work in industry as an analytical chemist. He was employed at Watson Pharmaceuticals in Corona from 1996-2000 and for the past five years has been working with Calhoun Vision in Pasadena. His research involves the design of light adjustable lenses to be inserted in the eye during cataract surgery. This research group includes Dr. Bob Grubbs of CalTech, who recently shared the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Jerry has been a member of the American Chemical Society since 1970, and he joined the Southern California section in 1978. He is also a member of Alpha Chi Sigma fraternity, the professional chemistry fraternity.
Jerry is also a leader in his community. For the past four years he has served on the Duarte Community Services Commission, which provides information and makes recommendations to the city council. He is also active in his church and is a Leading Knight (vice president) in the Elks Club. His hobbies include stamp collecting and historical gaming (strategy of military battles in history). He is also a retired reservist. For 31 years, he was in charge of nuclear, biological and chemical defense training for reserve units in Arizona and California. He oversaw 100 units.
Jerry has three grown daughters of whom he is very proud. The oldest is a lawyer, the middle is a computer webmaster, and the youngest is in graduate school at UC Irvine, studying Immunology.