Gary L. Haller

Henry Prentiss Becton Professor of Engineering and Applied Science and Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering and Chemistry

Gary HallerGary Haller, B.S. University of Nebraska, Ph.D. Northwestern University, faculty member at Yale since 1967: Born on a small farm in Nebraska, you have come far from your roots to become an exemplar of the complete Yale professor. You have combined your interdisciplinary training in mathematics and physical chemistry, and your passion for research, to become a world-leading scholar in the area of heterogeneous catalysis. You have authored more than 250 journal articles on topics ranging from carbon nanotubes to zeolites to nuclear magnetic resonance. You have taught thousands of undergraduates and have advised more than thirty Ph.D. students, many of whom now hold top academic positions throughout the world. You have held lectureships at leading universities, consulted for Fortune 500 companies, and been a conscientious leader in your discipline.

Catalysis is about transformation. And through your scholarly work you have transformed thinking in this field. Many of your papers—such as “Metal-Support Interaction,” with 600+ citations—have become classics and continue to educate and inspire. From your early interactions with Professor John Fenn and work on oxidation reactions on platinum and palladium, to your work with mesoporous silicas and X-ray absorption for catalyst characterization, and finally to your most recent work on carbon nanotubes as catalyst supports, you pioneered multiple frontiers with creativity and insight. Through it all, you have been a devoted collaborator and generous colleague.

Your service to the scientific community has been equally distinguished. As just a few examples, you served as chair of the Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry of the American Chemical Society and of the Gordon Research Conference on Catalysis; co-edited the Journal of Catalysis; and have been president, vice president, foreign secretary, and member of the board of the Catalysis Society.

But science is only one of your passions, and only one way you have contributed to Yale. The University has called on you multiple times: you were deputy provost for the sciences in the ’80s and committeeman extraordinaire throughout the years, serving on everything from search committees to the Honorary Degrees Committee of the Yale Corporation, while never missing a beat in the classroom or the lab. When asked to serve as master of Jonathan Edwards College in 1997 (after serving as acting master once before), you and Sondra responded by leading the college over an eleven-year period that included your intense involvement in its complete renovation. A special gift to the mastership was bringing your passion for the arts into your home and into the lives of JE students. The Master’s House became a gallery, broadening students’ exposure to a wide range of artists. Your weekly excursions to New York introduced students to opera, theater, and dance, and gave JE a true “Culture Draw.” You are now applying the same organizational ability, cultural zest, and boundless energy to your role as director of the Koerner Center.

Whether you were leading a museum tour or lecturing on catalysis, advancing science or sharing wisdom, engaging alumni or guiding students, your multifaceted contributions to the University have been original and exceptional, and done with a contagious delight. As you retire, your many colleagues and friends wish you the very best, and fully expect you to go “on with the show.”

Tribute Editor: Penelope Laurans