RMR History

January 2023

In May it will be sixty years since I arrived at the University of Wyoming charged with building a Science Center for all the Science Departments and raising the money therefore, changing the College of Arts and Sciences from a service organization to one with graduate programs and research plus with good teaching, and to enlarge the scope of the American Chemical Society to include the “waste-land of the Central Rockies” with regard to the American Chemical Society.  Here I shall dwell upon the last item.

In the early 1970s my good friend Bill Cook, Dean of the College of Science at Colorado State University (only recently Colorado A & M), who met frequently about college matters one day observed the dearth of ACS activity in the Rocky Mountain region. From this discussion eventually the notion of a Rocky Mountain Region as a subunit of the ACS was born. We decided to start with Colorado as it was Bill’s home section and was the largest Local Section in the region. Colorado was interested but under certain conditions, namely that representation on the regional governing board be proportional to size of the local section. Bill and I decided to address that matter late and went on contacting the local sections in New Mexico (there was only one) Utah (there was only one) and Arizona (not sure of there was one or two at the time).  It was a long and arduous task and took some cajoling to get all of the pertinent local sections to agree.  Each, of course, had to review the possibility with local section officers and members. Then, as we realized from the start, we had to get the blessing of ACS National.  Here we had good luck as Gardner Stacy of Washington State University was moving toward the ACS presidency, and his support was vital, and the nascent Rocky Mountain Region received the blessing of ACS. During this time a structure for the Region was worked out with each participating Local Section having one-member for the Region Board. It was also agreed that an initial sum of $10,000 be raised by assessing each Local Section its prepositional amount. This somewhat was in recognition that Colorado had only one Director. That money BTW was invested in mutual funds so the back-up fund grew, and no assessments have been necessary. Thus, Arizona, Colorado. New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming collectively had a Region. Since the Region did not have many local sections to host meetings, it was agreed that the Regional Meeting would be held biennially with the first RMR hosted by the Colorado Section.

That first meeting was in 1972 hosted by the Colorado Section and located in Ft. Collins, and was followed by a meeting hosted by the New Mexico Section (later the Central NM Section) in 1974 and a 1976 meeting hosted by the Wyoming Section. 1978 was in Boulder, and the 1980 in Salt Lake City jointly with the Northwest Region.  This joint meeting of two Regions was model initially used by the Rocky Mountain Region and followed in many RMR meetings.  Two such stand out in my memory (apologies that they both involve Wyoming). The first was in 1988 (joint with the Sierra Local Section) which was in Las Vegas. I got Dr. Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, to give the principal address. Buss had earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from USC, but at the time was a “Hollywood star” and entrepreneur.  It turned out that despite trepidations by our Meeting team, Buss gave a great talk showing how his technical knowledge made the Lakers a winning and profitable team.  The other joint meeting was between Wyoming and the local (comprising WY and CO) American Institute of Chemical Engineers Section.  This was the only truly joint meeting between ACS and another Society wherein the meeting committee was composed of members of both societies as were all the subfunction groups. The meeting was in a Large Denver hotel and did not meet the room requirement as many of the attendees were local. The meeting would have lost a lot of money; however, the Denver National Meeting was scheduled for the following year, so an ACS meetings person persuaded the hotel to forgive our meeting’s debt. Thus, a true intersociety meeting escaped disaster.

Dr. E. Gerald Meyer

83 year ACS member

RM Regional Meetings

Year Location Host Section

1972 Ft. Collins Colorado

1974 Albuquerque Central NM

1976 Laramie Wyoming

1978 Boulder Colorado

1980 S.L. City Salt Lake

1982 El Paso Wyoming

1984 Albuquerque Central NM

1986 Denver Colorado

1988 Las Vegas Wyoming

1990 S.L. City Salt Lake

1992 Albuquerque Central NM

1995 Park City Central UT

1996 Denver Colorado

1998 Tucson So. AZ

2000 Idaho Falls Wyoming

2002 Albuquerque Central NM

2004 Logan UT Salt Lake

2006 Tucson So. AZ

2007 Denver Wyoming

2008 Park City Central UT

2020 Denver Colorado

2021 Tucson So. AZ

2023 Laramie Wyoming