2003 UW Honorary Citation Report – Sih

The 2003 Citation recipients: Dr. Holly Mason, Pamela Ploetz, Dr. Charles Sih, and Dr. Leon Lachman, with Dean Emeritus Mel Weinswig and Dean Jeanette Roberts

The 2003 Citation recipients: Dr. Holly Mason, Pamela Ploetz, Dr. Charles Sih,
and Dr. Leon Lachman, with Dean Emeritus Mel Weinswig (left) and
Dean Jeanette Roberts (right).

Professor Charles Sih, has a 40-year distinguished research and teaching career. He has the distinction of being the first recipient of the Ernest Volwiler Award in Pharmaceutical Sciences, given by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to the best researcher in a school of pharmacy. Awarded the prestigious Roussel Prize in Steroid Chemistry in 1980, the Alexander von Humboldt Award in 1986 and the American Pharmaceutical Association Research Achievement Award in Natural Product Chemistry in 1987, Sih has built a well-earned and exceptional legacy at the School of Pharmacy.

After earning undergraduate and master’s degrees in biology and bacteriology from Carroll College of Helena, Montana, and Montana State University, respectively, Sih came to Wisconsin to pursue a PhD in bacteriology in the mid-1950s. Following graduate school at the UW, he worked as a Senior Research Chemist at the Squibb Institute for Medical Research. He returned to Madison in 1960, joining the School of Pharmacy faculty to teach pharmacognosy and to develop the biological sciences for the School.

He rapidly rose through the academic ranks, becoming a full professor in 1966. He was named the School’s Frederick Power Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1979 and is also a Hilldale Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry. Sih was the first School of Pharmacy faculty to ever hold a joint appointment in the UW Department of Chemistry.

Pharmaceutical biochemistry became increasingly significant during the 1960s, after Sih joined the faculty. In his research career, Professor Sih made a significant international impact on the fields of organic, bio-organic, and microbial chemistry. He has been a pioneer in the use of enzymatic and microbial transformations of organic molecules, and he has made outstanding contributions to natural product chemistry in biosynthesis and other biologically important processes.

Sih has published more than 180 articles and performed more than 200 invited lectures during his illustrious career. He has also served as a scientific consultant to numerous firms, including Syntex and Miles Laboratories, Eastman Kodak and the Schering Corporation.