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Ouachita Stories


Orna connects chemistry, art and history during lecture at Ouachita

Dr. Mary Virginia Orna presents a lecture at Ouachita Baptist UniversityJuly 08, 2022 - Lydia Dean

Ouachita Baptist University hosted Dr. Mary Virginia Orna as featured speaker for the 2022 Nell Mondy Lecture Series in April. Orna is professor emerita of chemistry and president of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Title IIA chemical education summer programs at the College of New Rochelle (New York).

Her presentation at Ouachita, titled “How Color Changed the World,” explored the ways that chemistry, art and archeology are connected.

Dr. Sara Hubbard, associate professor of chemistry and holder of the Nell I. Mondy Chair of Chemistry at Ouachita, said she hoped the lecture fostered for attendees “an increased knowledge and appreciation for how chemistry connects so many other fields in the real world.”

“Dr. Orna has extensive experience working at the nexus of chemistry, history and art,” Hubbard said. “Chemistry, art and history are all separate, but when they work together they create a masterpiece.”

Orna earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Fordham University and is widely known for her lectures and articles on color chemistry and archaeological chemistry. She is president of ChemSource, Inc., a National Science Foundation-funded effort in chemistry instruction enhancement, and has been a Fulbright Fellow, American Chemical Society Fellow and an ACS Radding Award winner. She is a regular contributor to the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle and has been published in periodicals including the Journal of Chemical Education, Color Research and Application, Studies in Conservation and Analytical Chemistry.

Her latest book, March of the Pigments: Color History, Science and Impact, was released in May.

The Nell Mondy Lecture Series Endowment was established at Ouachita in 1991 by the late Dr. Nell Mondy. A native of Pocahontas, Ark., Mondy was a biochemist and a summa cum laude Ouachita graduate known worldwide as a consultant on food chemistry and nutrition. At the time of her death in 2005, she was professor emerita of nutritional sciences at Cornell University. The Mondy Lecture series focuses on topics related to chemistry, food science and nutrition and features guest presentations from scholars who have achieved national prominence in their fields of study.

For information on the Nell Mondy Lecture Series, contact Dr. Sara Hubbard at (870) 245-5533 or at [email protected].

Photo by Hannah Adamson



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