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Chemistry – for the Greater Good

The new David F. Putnam Chair to the chemistry department understands that the value of higher education is real and tangible.

by Gordon Leversee
photos by Michael Moore

Dr. Paul Baures with students. Photo by Michael Moore.

Dr. Paul Baures illustrates the method of reading the fluid level in a buret to Lauren Wallace '12, Marie Avery '12, William Miller '12, and James Hendrickx '12.

Dr. Paul Baures started with Keene State in the fall 2011 semester. A Wisconsin native, he didn't envision a career in chemistry when he was a senior in high school. In fact, he wanted to own a feed mill at that time. It wasn't until his second year at Winona State University that he got hooked on chemistry.

With more than 20 years' experience in biochemistry and medicinal chemistry, Dr. Baures has been conducting applied and basic research as well as teaching in the field. As a David F. Putnam Chair, his work is supported by the Putnam family, who have invested greatly in Keene and have deep roots here. He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants from institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, and the American Chemical Society.

Dr. Baures is inspired by Keene State's focus on student achievement and its goal of providing access to higher education for students who are first in their families to attend college.

"A student at Keene State is an individual with his or her own set of talents to be developed and nurtured – not just a number, as it can sometimes feel at a large university. The college is filled with faculty and staff who have been very inviting and helpful. I think this is important for first-generation students, as they will not always have someone from their family or hometown friends to turn to for guidance through the challenges that students often face in their first year."

Dr. Paul Baures with students. Photo by Michael Moore.

Dr. Paul Baures uses a model to explain the forces in crystalline ice.

Understanding that access to higher education is essential for the success of future generations and their ability to contribute to science in meaningful ways, Dr. Baures says, "I think my history captures a lot of what a first-generation student faces in deciding to go to college. I think there is a question of why they should go to college, as well as what to study, if they have not had a lot of role models in their life with an advanced education.

"People are smart, creative, or intellectual without earning a college degree, but college can certainly provide a student with a breadth of understanding, a deeper appreciation for people or ideas different from their own, and an advanced skill set for navigating life's waters. The value of the college degree to success, whether measured financially or in terms of happiness, is proven in comparisons to adults without the advanced education."

For our campus community, and his students specifically, Dr. Baures offers knowledge and experience that impacts the lives of people every day. "My goal is to impart my knowledge and inspiration to a new generation of students. I hope that by sharing my experience, students will go on to conduct their studies and research in ways that will change the world for the better."

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