WASHINGTON — Thomas J. Kucera, Ph.D., a Skokie, Ill., chemist, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Chemical Society for his work on behalf of disabled chemists. The award will be presented Aug. 30 at the ACS 230th National Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Kucera will receive the honor from the ACS Committee on Chemists with Disabilities for his "untiring work to raise awareness of issues related to the rights of those with disabilities and for his willingness to address those issues with energy and effort that have resulted in significant progress."
This marks the first time the committee has presented a Lifetime Achievement Award since it was established 25 years ago to promote access by individuals with disabilities to educational and career opportunities in chemistry and allied sciences.
The award will be presented Tuesday, Aug. 30, at a special anniversary reception from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Willard InterContinental Washington. This year also is the 15th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Kucera was the first editor of "Teaching Chemistry to Students with Disabilities: A Manual for High Schools, Colleges, and Graduate Programs," published by the committee. It is considered a landmark publication that provides guidance in the laboratory and classroom for teachers with disabled students.
Despite being seriously injured in an automobile accident in 1964, which ultimately resulted in his confinement to a wheelchair, Kucera has had a long career in the chemical industry and has been a leader within ACS, locally and nationally. He was ACS Chicago Section chair and the first chair of the ACS Committee on Chemists with Disabilities.
Kucera was Vice President and Technical Director at American Photocopy Equipment Co. (APECO) in Evanston, Ill., and worked for Midwest Laboratory in Chicago. He also was employed at Charles Bruning Co. in Teterboro, N.J., and Mt. Prospect, Ill., where he made important contributions to the development of sensitized films and paper. While at APECO, he helped develop Electrofax, the first machine that could copy books. He is currently a consultant with Kucera & Associates.
As a young man, he had an intense interest in chemistry, reading his entire high school chemistry textbook in two days. He earned a B.S. in chemistry from Loyola University; a M.S. in chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology; and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Purdue University. Kucera worked for the Office of Naval Research at Purdue and later traveled to New Zealand as a Fulbright Scholar for a year, working in the area of natural products.
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