Malcolm E. Pruitt

Born: October 15, 1915 | Hamilton, TX, US
Died: May 30, 2003 | Brazoria, TX, US

In this second interview, Malcolm Pruitt reflects on the history and successes of the Council for Chemical Research, describing its origins as deriving from his concern for the poor cooperation between university and industry, thus causing Pruitt to establish a task force which led to the founding of the Council. Pruitt also discusses the American Chemical Society. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0081
No. of pages: 17
Minutes: 80

Interview Sessions

James J. Bohning
9 September 1988
Midland, Michigan

Abstract of Interview

This short interview with Mac Pruitt is concerned with the Council for Chemical Research and starts with an account of the foundation meeting at Midland and its origins in Pruitt's fear that U. S. chemical technology was endangered by poor cooperation between university and industry. During the course of the interview, Pruitt describes the working of the task force he set up which eventually led to the formal establishment of the Council. The relations with the American Chemical Society are briefly reviewed, the membership and the staffing of the Council are outlined, and the meaning of the logo is explained. The conversation ends with Pruitt's assessment of the success of the Council for Chemical Research over the first decade of its existence. 


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1941 Abilene Christian University BS Chemistry

Professional Experience

Hamilton County Public School

1936 to 1941

Clyde Independent Schools

1941 to 1942

Dow Chemical Company

1942 to 1943
Control Chemist
1943 to 1944
Research Chemist, Gas Laboratory
1944 to 1946
Research Chemist, Organic Laboratory
1946 to 1948
Project Leader
1948 to 1951
Group Leader
1951 to 1954
Laboratory Group Leader
1954 to 1962
Director, Organic Products Development Laboratory
1962 to 1967
Director of Product Research
1967 to 1971
Director of Research & Development, Dow Chemical USA
1971 to 1978
Director of Research and Development, Dow Chemical Company
1975 to 1980
1978 to 1980
Corporate Director of Research and Development

Council for Chemical Research

1980 to 1982
1982 to 1989
Honorary Chairman


Year(s) Award

Alumni Citation, Abilene Christian University


Honorary Doctor of Science, Abilene Christian University


Industrial Research Institute Medal


Society of Research Adminstrators Award


Commercial Development Association Award


Outstanding Alumnus, Abilene Christian University


First Recipient of Mac Pruitt Award, Council for Chemical Research


Earle Barnes Award, American Chemical Society

About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning

James J. Bohning was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was CHF’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.  Bohning passed away in September 2011.