Buchwald-Haber Family Fund

Professor Steve Buchwald smiles in his office.
Professor Stephen L. Buchwald

In August 2015 to coincide with a 60th Birthday Symposium in his honor, Stephen L. Buchwald, the Camille Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry and Associate Head of the Department, and his wife Susan Haber, with a gift of $100,000 established the Buchwald-Haber Family Fund, an endowed fund benefiting the Department of Chemistry to support graduate students with a preference for those studying organic chemistry.

“MIT and the Chemistry Department have been instrumental in my success,” says Professor Buchwald. “The key has been the exceptional quality of the graduate students. Susan and I feel that this fund in some small way can symbolize our gratitude for their outstanding effort.”


The SLB@60 Symposium, organized by Christine Nguyen in the Buchwald Lab, Ruben Martin (Postdoc 2006-2008), Group Leader and ICREA Professor at ICIQ, and Brett Fors (PhD 2006-2011), Assistant Professor at Cornell University, with assistance from Steve’s Administrative Assistant, Nancy Parkinson, was held on Saturday, August 15, 2015 in the penthouse suite of the New Media Lab. The symposium featured Buchwald group alumni representing the diverse fields of research they have pursued successfully since their work in the Buchwald lab. The talks ranged from methodology and total synthesis to toxicology and pharmaceutical process drug development. Professor Robert H. Grubbs, Nobel Laureate and Steve’s postdoctoral mentor at Caltech was the keynote speaker. Over 200 guests attended with several alumni and friends flying in from Korea, China, Switzerland Spain especially for the event. false

The festivities continued into the evening at the Boston Museum of Science with 227 guests from around the world. Among the guests were 111 alumni ranging from Professor Buchwald’s first class of students — who graduated in 1989 — to current group members.

Over dinner, Steve’s colleagues including Prof. Brett Fors (MIT Ph.D. 2005-2010) Cornell University; Prof. Eric Jacobsen, Harvard; Prof. Phil Baran, The Scripps Research Institute; Prof. Tim Swager, MIT; Prof. Dave MacMillan, Princeton; Dr. Clark Carrol, personal family friend; and Prof. Tim Jamison, MIT “roasted” him to highlight his unique eccentricities, karaoke singing talents, and his profound influence as a mentor, friend, and “thermodynamic nice guy.”

Professor Buchwald received his Sc.B. degree from Brown University in 1977 where he worked with Kathlyn A. Parker and David E. Cane at Brown University as well as Professor Gilbert Stork at Columbia University. He entered Harvard University as a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow in 1977 and received his Ph.D. in 1982. His thesis work, carried out with Jeremy R. Knowles, concerned the mechanism of phosphoryl transfer reactions in chemistry and biochemistry. As a Myron A. Bantrell postdoctoral fellow at Caltech with Professor Robert H. Grubbs, he studied titanocene methylenes as reagents in organic synthesis and the mechanism of Ziegler-Natta polymerization. In 1984 he joined MIT as an assistant professor of chemistry. He was promoted to associate professor in 1989 and to Professor in 1993. In 1997, he was named the Camille Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry.

Research in the Buchwald Lab is focused on combining elements of organic synthesis, physical organic chemistry and organometallic chemistry to devise catalytic processes of use with the aim of solving problems of fundamental importance.