Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Matthew C. Asplund receives Nichols-Butler University Citizen Award

Posted: Nov 20, 2013

Dr. Matthew C. Asplund was awarded the Nichols-Butler University Citizenship Award on October 29, 2013, which recognizes a faculty member that exemplifies having balance between religious commitment, academic achievement and education in the broadest sense.

The late Eliot Butler and his wife Ann set up the award to recognize the contributions of Professor Joseph Nichols and to honor a faculty member in the department who has demonstrated a clear understanding of and dedication to the highest purposes of Brigham Young University.

Professor Nichols joined the department in 1933 and was a key figure in the early development of the department. Professor Butler taught from 1956-1991 and pushed students, as well as faculty, to be well-rounded citizens of the university. Dr. Asplund was a student of Professor Butler and remembers his influence well.

“I was influenced by his passion for teaching, his demands that students really learn the material, and his love of the university,” Dr. Asplund said. “I was greatly influenced by his example.”

Dr. Asplund has worked hard to create the balance in his life that led to his recognition. Research, helping students, and supporting the work of the department are a just a few things that take up Dr. Asplund’s time. He notes that just one of these things could take up all of his time if he let it.

Prioritizing work has been key in finding this balance. Another method has been finding ways for his research to support his teaching and vice versa. This is mainly done through mentored student research.

After almost ten years in the department, Dr. Asplund couldn’t be more thankful for the recognition that his hard work has earned him.

“This award is a wonderful acknowledgement of a lot of things that I sometimes think have gone unnoticed,” Dr. Asplund said. “I greatly appreciate the support of my colleagues and the opportunity to work with them in all aspects of the work of the department.”

In May of this year, Dr. Milton Lee gave the announcement that Dr. Asplund would be receiving the Citizenship Award. On October 29, Dr. Asplund presented a seminar and accepted a substantial honorarium and the award in a special ceremony.

“While I talked a bit about my research, I was hoping to show how understanding chemical reactions touches on all aspects of chemistry, biochemistry and, therefore, life sciences,” Dr. Asplund explained.

His seminar, entitled "Chemical reactions: Why the journey is as interesting as the destination", was about the field of chemical reaction dynamics.

By Ellen Westenhaver