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Stephen Benkovic accepting an etching from Phil Bevilacqua
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Heard on campus: Renowned chemist Stephen Benkovic

18 June 2024

On June 14, many gathered to celebrate the career of renowned chemist Stephen Benkovic, Atherton Professor and Eberly Chair in Chemistry, and his wife, Pat, during a special ceremony to celebrate the naming of the Chemistry Building as the Benkovic Building in their honor. Fifty-nine years ago, Stephen Benkovic joined Penn State as an assistant professor of chemistry, and seven years later he was named Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, the University’s highest recognition of its faculty.
 
“We would not have imagined this when we arrived decades ago,” Benkovic said. “We wish to express our deep gratitude to the many unnamed who impacted our lives here both scientifically and socially, and that led to this dedication.”
 
Over the course of his career, Benkovic made major contributions in shaping our understanding of biological processes while also receiving many awards, such as the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science and a National Medal of Honor. As he concluded his speech at the naming ceremony, Benkovic shared his approach to research and his hopes for the future.
 
“We had fun, lots of fun, and also did, I believe, some very fine science,” he said. “I never wanted our science to become stale and uninteresting. I always wanted to evolve as the science evolved. Pat and I have had a wonderful career here; it’s now your turn. We know that within this building you have facilities for first-class research — our hope is that you will do exactly that.”