Dr. W. Frank Kinard Annual Chemistry Scholarship


A College of Charleston legend, chemistry professor Dr. William Frank Kinard, passed away after 41 years of extraordinary service to the students and faculty of the College of Charleston. Frank loved to mentor students in the lab and has inspired many generations of students. In addition to teaching, Frank's interests in nuclear chemistry led him to serve as secretary of the American Chemical Society Nuclear Chemistry and Technology Division for 17 years. George Cobb '82 and wife Peney Patton '82 with fellow alumni Laura McConnell '87 and Angela Lindner '83 established a scholarship to honor the man they describe as "one of the greatest role models of all time". Below is a brief Q&A with George and Peney from their home in Waco, Texas.

Describe the first time you met Frank Kinard?

It was my sophomore year. I was taking quantitative chemistry. Frank walks into the classroom, takes roll and asks who read the newspaper today. I was speechless. And several days after that, at the start of class, he would ask us what newspapers we'd read. He wanted to be sure we knew how important is was to be in touch with what was happening in the world and to be engaged in life. He felt it was just as important as chemistry classes - life was part of our education. Frank was constantly challenging us to understand the world around us and to live life to the fullest. It's how he lived his life. I use his philosophy today with my freshmen students at Baylor University.

How did your relationship with Kinard grow over the years?

Frank offered me a research internship my senior year. He believed in my potential and pushed me to work hard. He wrote my recommendation letter for graduate school to the University of South Florida. He also wrote every recommendation letter for every job in my career after graduate school. I would come back and see him during Spoleto and other visits to Charleston. A connection I always enjoyed was meeting for breakfast on the Sunday before every American Chemical Society meeting. Frank was an executive within the Nuclear Chemistry Division and was very busy at these meetings, but he devoted the time to reconnect. We met every year, sometimes twice a year, for 19 years. He was an incredible role model for me. I called him for advice from every job I had – we'd discuss students, faculty and administrative challenges.

Why did you and Peney, as well as former classmates Laura McConnell and Angela Lindner?

Frank was larger than life. The excellence of faculty like Frank and their never-ending work to provide the best educational experience for students is why we wanted to establish a scholarship to honor Frank. This was a meaningful way to pay it forward, honor Frank's devotion to the College and provide an avenue for deserving students to pursue science.

George Cobb and Peney Patton live in Waco, Texas. George is department chair for environmental sciences at Baylor University. Peney is a self-employed business consultant. George and Peney met at the College. They are parents of two children, Ben (23) and James, (19) who is a freshmen at the College of Charleston.

Make a gift to the Dr. W. Frank Kinard Annual Chemistry Scholarship.