George, Thomas F.

Tom George portrait copy

Thomas F. George is chancellor and professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.  As chancellor, he oversees academic and administrative operations of a university with 16,800 students, 2,500 faculty and staff, 40 academic buildings and a $200 million annual operating budget.  In addition, nearly $130 million of new capital construction and landscaping on campus is taking place during 2014-16 Chancellor George is active in the St. Louis community.  He has received the Distinguished Higher Education Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Missouri State Celebration Commission, the Outstanding Community Service Award from the St. Louis County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Lifelong Vision Award from the Lifelong Vision Foundation of St. Louis, and the Silver Beaver Award from the Greater St. Louis Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; and he has been named St. Louis North County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.  In addition to his role as campus and community leader and fund-raiser, Chancellor George is an active researcher in chemistry and physics, specializing in chemical/materials/laser physics and nanoscience, including nanomedicine.  His work has led to 750 papers, 5 authored and 18 edited books.  He has been recognized nationally and worldwide, such as being awarded the Marlow Medal by the Royal Society of Chemistry in Great Britain and named a fellow in various professional organizations (New York Academy of Sciences, American Physical Society, Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science) and foundations (Dreyfus, Sloan, Guggenheim).  He has been elected as a foreign member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, and he has held the title of visiting professor of physics at Korea University in Seoul.  His research has been acknowledged by an honorary doctorate in physics (honoris causa) from the University of Szeged in Hungary.  He also has received an honorary doctorate in education for locality development from Phranakhon Rajabhat University in Thailand.  He has been awarded the Medal of Honor by Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait and the Diploma of Honour by Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences in Finland.

An accomplished jazz pianist, Dr. George has studied with faculty at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.  He has performed extensively in public, including recent performances at various venues in Missouri and Illinois, the University of Arkansas, Nanjing University in China, city of Szeged in Hungary, West University of Timisoara in Romania, Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait, University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and University of Dubrovnik in Croatia.  He has also performed in Russian Siberia.

Born in Philadelphia, Chancellor George became an Eagle Scout and received his high school diploma from Friends' Central School, where he earned varsity letters in soccer and wrestling.  He received a bachelor of arts degree (Phi Beta Kappa) with a double major in chemistry and mathematics from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.  He earned a master of science degree and doctor of philosophy degree in theoretical chemistry from Yale University at age 23, followed by postdoctoral appointments at MIT and UC Berkeley.  Joining the faculty at the University of Rochester, he was promoted by age 29 to full professor of chemistry.  He then served as dean of natural sciences and mathematics at SUNY–Buffalo, provost at Washington State University, chancellor at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, and since 2003 as chancellor at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Dr. George has been married since 1970 to Dr. Barbara Harbach, Curators’ Professor of Music and director of women in the arts at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  They are the proud owners (actually, servants) of two tortoise cats, Luna and Stella.