William S. Stavropoulos
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
William S. Stavropoulos begins the interview with a discussion of his family's Grecian ancestry. He describes their migration and eventual settlement in the United States. Stavropoulos goes on to recount his childhood and education in the small, tight-knit community of Bridgehampton, New York, where his high school teacher, Robert Smith, sparked his interest in science. In 1961, Stavropoulos attended Fordham University, where he received a BS in pharmacy. Having received his PhD in medical chemistry from the University of Washington, Stavropoulos was hired at Dow Chemical as a research chemist. He remained in Dow Chemical to act as business manager for several departments. Then in 1980, he embarked on the path to becoming the CEO of Dow, beginning with his promotion to Commercial Vice President of Dow Latin America. During that time period, he and his family relocated to Coral Gables, Florida. In 1995, Mr. Stavropoulos was named CEO of Dow Chemical Company. Mr. Stavropoulos concludes the interview with his thoughts on winning the American Chemical Industry Medal in 2001 from the Society of Chemical Industry.
|1966||University of Washington||PhD||Medicinal Chemistry|
Dow Chemical Company
Dow Corning Corporation
Man of the Year Award, American Hellenic Education Progressive Association
Man of the Year Award, Hellenic American Bankers Association
Ellis Island Medal of Honor
Honorary Doctor of Laws, Northwood University
CEO of the Year Kavaler Award
Man of the Year Award, Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce
Palladium Medal, Société de Chimie Industrielle
Chemical Industry Medal, Society of Chemical Industry
Table of Contents
Parents' immigration from Greece. Life and school in Long Island, NY. Interest in math and science sparked by teacher, Robert Smith.
Pharmacy at Fordham. Graduate school at the University of Washington. Studying medicinal chemistry under Al Huitric. Encounter with the Dow Chemical Company recruiter.
The move to Dow in Indianapolis. Working with small groups. Named Director of Marketing in plastics, CVP of Dow Latin America and then CVP of Dow USA. Becoming president and CEO of Dow.
The importance of change and commitment to research. Major acquisitions and divestments. Accountability and responsibility. The triple bottom-line theory.
Thoughts on winning the Society of Chemical Industry Award. Reflection on Greece and family as focal points in life.
About the Interviewer
James G. Traynham is a professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He joined Louisiana State University in 1953 and served as chemistry department chairperson from 1968 to 1973. He was chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1988 and is currently councilor of the Baton Rouge section of the American Chemical Society. He was a member of the American Chemical Society’s Joint-Board Council on Chemistry and Public Affairs, as well as a member of the Society’s Committees on Science, Chemical Education, and Organic Chemistry Nomenclature. He has written over 90 publications, including a book on organic nomenclature and a book on the history of organic chemistry.