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David Henton (BS 1967)

Rarely does a family story include a direct connection to the earliest days of a university, but the family of Dr. David Henton is an exception. Three generations of David’s family attended the University of Missouri–St. Louis, including his mother, two brothers, a sister and more recently his son. As for David, he was a member of UMSL’s first graduating class, receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1967 and earning the honor of top chemistry graduate.

After UMSL, David received a NASA fellowship to attend the University of Kansas, where he earned a master’s in organic chemistry. After two years in the Army Chemical Corp, he returned to the University of Kansas and earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1973.

David Henton

“All of the chemistry majors had the privilege of both being taught and mentored by the most remarkable staff of gifted professors," David said. "They were building a program and an organization and we, the students, were the product and benefited from their effort. It had a profound effect on each of us.”

With doctorate in hand, David joined The Dow Chemical Company, spending the next 31 years developing new products and processes. He holds more than 40 patents and has written numerous journal articles and book chapters on polymers and plastics. David was chairman of the Dow Chemical Company’s Materials Technical Advisory Board until his retirement in 2004. He received the 1999 American Chemical Society Award for Outstanding Achievement and Promotion of the Chemical Sciences and the 2004 ACS Regional Innovation Award for development of commercially important polymers.

Today, David is a member of several Science Advisory Boards for startup companies and consults in the areas of green chemistry, renewable resource-based products, materials science, polymerization processes and polymer applications. More recently, he has focused on co-inventing numerous new products, obtaining patents and submitting patent applications for his clients.