UNK alumna honored with Distinguished Chemistry Alumna Award

Harding will share her lecture on Friday, Sept. 29, at 2:30 p.m. in Copeland Hall, Room 131
Harding will share her lecture on Friday, Sept. 29, at 2:30 p.m. in Copeland Hall, Room 131(press release)
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 3:02 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (Press Release) - Ruth (Udey) Harding, Ph.D., has been selected as the 2023 Dr. Donald E. Fox Distinguished Chemistry Alumna. Harding will share her lecture on Friday, Sept. 29, at 2:30 p.m. in Copeland Hall, Room 131. The lecture is open to the public.

She will be honored earlier in the day at the 43rd Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in the Ponderosa Room in the Nebraskan Student Union. Tickets are $25 per person ($30 starting Sept. 18), $15 for children ages 12 & under, and can be purchased until Sept. 21 at unkalumni.org/homecoming or by calling the UNK Alumni Association at 308-698-5271.

“Dr. Ruth (Udey) Harding was an excellent student in both the classroom and research lab,” said Scott Darveau, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at UNK. “Ruth was one of our first undergraduate research students (along with Chris Exstrom, Ph.D.) focusing on photovoltaic thin films. Her success in conducting various spectroscopic techniques and their analysis was important in establishing the value of undergraduates in high-level scientific research and set the stage for two decades of collaborative research in photovoltaics between UNK and UNL.”

Dr. Donald E. Fox Distinguished Chemistry Alumna Award

Ruth (Udey) Harding, Ph.D. (2006)

Ruth Harding, Ph.D., of Livermore, California, is an operations manager in the Global Security Directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California.

Harding received her Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2006. Following her graduation from UNK, she earned a Master of Science in forensic chemistry and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry, both from Michigan State University.

Founded in 1952, LLNL provides solutions to important national security challenges through innovative science, engineering and technology. Harding has spent 13 years with the LLNL, with roles as a graduate student intern, postdoctoral researcher, assurance officer, quality manager and now operations manager.

Her current role as an operations manager combines her passions for scientific research and safety management, enabling her to contribute to the research at a Department of Energy national laboratory by helping to plan work safely, perform safety oversight and enable the researchers to complete their mission deliverables.

She has been the recipient of the Lawrence Scholar Graduate Student Fellowship, R&D 100 Award and two Director’s Institutional Operational Excellence Awards.

Harding is a Columbus, Nebraska, native and Columbus High School graduate. While in college, she was a member of the UNK Alumni Association’s Gold Torch Society.

To purchase tickets and see a complete list of weekend activities, contact the UNK Alumni Association at 308-698-5271 or visit unkalumni.org/homecoming.

Additional alumni award recipients will be announced throughout the next two weeks.

2023 Homecoming Alumni Events

Friday, September 29

11:30 a.m. Distinguished Alumni Awards Luncheon (Nebraskan Student Union, Ponderosa


2:30 p.m. Chemistry Department’s Dr. Don Fox Lecture (Copeland Hall, Room 131)

3:30 p.m. One Room, One Teacher Induction Ceremony (College of Education Atrium)

5:30 p.m. Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet (Nebraskan Student Union, Ponderosa Room)

6:00 p.m. ROTC Alumni Social (American Legion)

Saturday, September 30

10 a.m. Homecoming Parade (Downtown Kearney)Noon Loper Alumni Brews & Brats Tailgate in Loperville (Cope Stadium)

2 p.m. UNK Football vs. Washburn University (Cope Stadium, Foster Field)

6:00 p.m. ROTC Alumni Banquet (Younes Conference Center South)

A full schedule of events and ticket information can be found at unkalumni.org/homecoming and unk.edu/offices/student_life/homecoming.