Nov. 9, 1995
Vol. 15, No. 5

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    Argonne Director, CEO Schriesheim announces retirement

    Alan Schriesheim has announced he will step down next year as Director and Chief Executive Officer of Argonne National Laboratory. The laboratory is operated by the University under contract with the Department of Energy.

    Schriesheim, a Ph.D. chemist who joined Argonne in 1983 after a long career with Exxon Corporation, said he will leave his post on July 1, 1996. He has been the lab's longest-serving director, and upon his retirement he will become Argonne's Director Emeritus.

    "Alan Schriesheim has been an extraordinary director and has served the laboratory, the University and the nation with distinction," said President Sonnenschein. "Argonne is a pre-eminent research institution judged by any standard, and Alan has helped to provide a strong foundation for the lab's second half-century."

    Sonnenschein said the University has begun the search to identify Schriesheim's successor by appointing a search committee composed of Argonne scientists, University faculty members and members of Argonne's Board of Governors.

    With an annual research budget of about a half-billion dollars, Argonne employs nearly 5,000 people at its main 1,700-acre site about 25 miles southwest of Chicago and at Argonne-West in Idaho. Argonne is one of nine multiprogram national laboratories and the only one in the Midwest.

    Schriesheim was the first national laboratory director to be recruited from industry, and he brought to Argonne a commitment to develop and initiate strategic programs. During Schriesheim's tenure as chief executive, the laboratory became the home of the largest current Department of Energy construction project, the Advanced Photon Source, a $1 billion research facility that will probe the biological and material properties of matter with far greater precision than ever before.

    In addition to the Advanced Photon Source, programs initiated during Schriesheim's tenure span the full range of science -- from developing biological microchips and sequencing the human genome in a cooperative program with the Englehardt Institute of Molecular Biology in Moscow to establishing a virtual-reality advanced parallel-processing computer center.

    Argonne under Schriesheim built the largest superconductivity program in America's national laboratory system, forming working relationships with more than 50 corporations and universities. The project led to the creation of an independent corporation, Illinois Superconductor Corp. (ISC), which raised $14 million in its initial stock offering. Coming from industry, Schriesheim has had a special interest in accelerating the commercializing of Argonne's science and technology, and he played an instrumental role in setting up ARCH, a creative venture corporation sponsored by the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. ISC is a result of ARCH's venture activities.

    Together with television journalist Bill Kurtis, Schriesheim initiated the Chicago Science Explorers program, which exposes thousands of teachers and students to science and math through study guides for Kurtis' PBS program "The New Explorers."

    Schriesheim has been interested in increasing opportunities in science for women and minorities, and he sponsored the lab's involvement with Chicago State University in minority recruitment and retention. He also initiated a women-in-science-and-technology program at Argonne that is becoming a paradigm for other national labs.

    Schriesheim received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Pennsylvania State University. He is the author or co-author of numerous scientific articles and holds 22 U.S. patents.