Dr. Abraham Clearfield, distinguished professor of chemistry at Texas A&M University, has been honored by Temple University with a 2007-08 Gallery of Success Award in the College of Science and Technology.

Bestowed annually on two recipients from each of Temple's 17 academic colleges and schools, the prestigious award recognizes distinguished alumni who have achieved substantial success in their careers and are inspirational to the entire Temple community.

Clearfield, an international pioneer in solid state inorganic chemistry as well as many areas of structural chemistry, received both his bachelor's (1948) and master's (1951) degrees in chemistry from Temple, as well as a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. He has been a member of the Texas A&M faculty since 1976.

"Abe Clearfield has played a major role in the Department of Chemistry for many years," said Dr. David H. Russell, professor and head of the Department of Chemistry. "His research and scholarship have contributed greatly to the research and teaching mission of Texas A&M University."

Clearfield accepted the award earlier this month as part of an Oct. 5 formal induction ceremony at Temple. His photograph and biographical sketch are now on display along with those of his fellow 2007-08 honorees in Mitten Hall on Temple's main campus. Next fall they will be added to a permanent display in the Career Development Services Center, which has sponsored the Gallery Awards program since 1998.

Clearfield, who originally chose Temple because of its affordability, applauded the University for providing him with an excellent science education, not to mention a quality start.

"I had some really good teachers who I still remember," he said. "Because of the education I got at Temple, I was able to ace my entrance exams to Rutgers and was awarded a research fellowship."

During his 31-year career at Texas A&M, Clearfield has served as chair of the Department of Chemistry's Inorganic Division, director of both the Industry-University Cooperative Chemistry Program and the Texas A&M Materials Science and Engineering Program, and as associate dean for research in the College of Science. All the while, he has continued to work extensively on layered compounds, intercalation chemistry and inorganic ion exchangers, including zeolites and metal phosphonate chemistry.

Clearfield has received many awards in recognition of his teaching, research and administrational efforts, including his recent promotion to distinguished professor -- Texas A&M's highest academic rank -- earlier this year. In addition, he has been honored with a Sigma Xi Distinguished Scientist Award, the Southwest Section American Chemical Society Award in Research, and a Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Research.

A past president of the American Crystallographic Association, Clearfield has been an editorial board member of numerous professional journals. In addition, he has published 530 papers in peer reviewed journals, edited three books and holds about 15 patents.

"As an academic, you're never done," he said. "You're always striving to be a better teacher and researcher and to contribute more to the community."

Clearfield and his wife, Ruth, have been strong supporters of their Temple community -- in particular, its students -- throughout the years. In 2005, they established the Abraham and Ruth Clearfield Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships for full-time undergraduate students in chemistry or another physical science with financial need and excellent academic performance.

Beyond his scientific achievements, Clearfield has pursued a strong interest in Jewish history, teaching courses and writing a monthly newspaper column on this subject. He and Mrs. Clearfield also enjoy traveling throughout the world, especially Europe.

For more on Clearfield and his research at Texas A&M, go to http://www.chem.tamu.edu/faculty/faculty_detail.php?ID=36.

To learn more about Temple's Gallery of Success and other inductees from the College of Science and Technology, visit http://www.temple.edu/cst/alumni/gallery.html.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu

Special thanks to Andrea Hallowell, Temple University College of Science and Technology Assistant Director for Communications, for her contributions to this story.

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Abraham Clearfield

    Photograph by Chandler Arden.

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