Maria Hepel Named First Distinguished Professor at SUNY Potsdam


Dr. Maria Hepel has been named the first SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Potsdam.

Chemistry Professor Dr. Maria Hepel is the first faculty member at SUNY Potsdam to be named a SUNY Distinguished Professor by the State University of New York Board of Trustees.

The SUNY Board of Trustees recently approved the appointment of 21 faculty to distinguished ranks—the highest system honors conferred upon SUNY instructional faculty. All distinguished faculty in active service within SUNY are also members of the SUNY Distinguished Academy, established in March 2012.

This year’s appointees include Professor Dr. Maria Hepel, chair of the Department of Chemistry at SUNY Potsdam. She is the first faculty member to be named a SUNY Distinguished Professor at the College.

“This is a historic moment in the life of SUNY Potsdam. Dr. Maria Hepel has been named the very first Distinguished Research Professor at this campus, and we are very, very proud of her. Maria is a nationally and internationally renowned scholar, not to mention a truly remarkable woman. Her work inspires our students, faculty, staff and alumni alike,” College President Dr. John F. Schwaller said.

In addition to Dr. Hepel, SUNY Potsdam currently has eight faculty members with Distinguished Service Professorships and 11 faculty members with Distinguished Teaching Professorships.

Since the program’s inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 942 faculty to distinguished ranks, including these most recent appointments, as follows: 312 Distinguished Professorships, 284 Distinguished Service Professorships; 341 Distinguished Teaching Professorships, and five Distinguished Librarian Professorships.

Of the 312 Distinguished Professorships, only 44 have been bestowed on faculty from comprehensive colleges. Dr. Hepel is one of only 16 SUNY Distinguished Professors at the system’s 13 comprehensive colleges.

“The Board is pleased to present these individuals with SUNY’s highest distinguished ranking,” said SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall. “Their commitment to the students, faculty and staff at their respective campuses and their vast achievements within their respective fields is impressive and highly commendable.”

“In bestowing our highest faculty honor, we proudly recognize the extraordinary achievements of these individuals and thank them for their continued commitment to excellence,” SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said. “I look forward to working more closely with this group as they join the SUNY Distinguished Academy.”

The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field. This distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the case of the arts. The candidates’ work must be of such character that the individuals’ presence will tend to elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons’ academic fields.

Dr. Maria Hepel was recognized along with only six other professors across the SUNY system this year to receive the SUNY Distinguished Professorship.

Dr. Hepel has attained national and international recognition primarily for her important work on piezoelectric sensors, quantum conductance of nanowires and environmental remediation processes. At last count, she had some 148 peer-reviewed publications in leading journals in her field. Her articles have appeared in such venues as the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Electrochimica Acta, the Journal of Physical Chemistry and the Journal of the Electrochemical Society. Her record of external funding is also impressive for a campus which until recently focused principally on classroom teaching. In the last three years, she has been awarded $804,000 in grants. She has been an active presenter of her research at conferences, listing some 342 presentations and nearly 70 invited lectures.

The Department of Chemistry at SUNY Potsdam offers a rigorous and well-balanced curriculum that provides a solid foundation for successful graduate study, and/or a career in chemistry or a chemistry-related field. It is known for its strong and diverse undergraduate research programs, its $1.3 million in grants to support teaching and research and students’ acceptance into competitive graduate and professional schools.

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Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts.