Our department was established in 1965 when Ball State Teachers College became Ball State University. However, chemistry was taught prior to that time, and at least one chemistry faculty member was hired in 1920.
When our department was formed, there were five faculty members, but the number grew quickly to 11 by 1969 as the number of students on campus increased dramatically. This number stayed relatively constant until 1998, when the number was 13. As the years went on, our faculty grew to over 20 full-time members. That increase is largely the result of the increase in the number of science and chemistry majors on campus.
From the early years to about 1991, five to 10 of our department's majors a year graduated from Ball State, but this increased dramatically starting in the mid-1990s, and we’ve seen as many as 44 students earn degrees in chemistry or biochemistry.
We have had a major certified by ACS, the American Chemical Society, since 1967.
We were first housed in what is now the Burkhardt Building. We moved to the Cooper Physical Science Building, when it was built in 1967. The laboratories in Cooper were renovated and a new ventilation system added over a period from 1992 to 2002. Additional renovations were completed recently to accommodate new faculty and larger classes.
These labs are now well-equipped with recently acquired magnetic resonance spectrometers, several infrared and visible-ultraviolet spectrophotometers along with gas and high pressure liquid chromatographs and atomic absorption instruments.
Since 1965, we have provided research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. The summer research program for undergraduate students has been in existence for more than 35 years. During the summer of 2017, about 32 undergraduates participated in the 10-week program.