Henry C. "Hank" Foley

BS ’77, Chemistry, Providence College
MS ’79, Chemistry, Purdue University
PhD ’82, Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University

"My education at Purdue gave me a much deeper understanding of all aspects of chemistry — especially solid state chemistry — and a better grounding in research."

Henry C. "Hank" Foley quickly rose to the top of the University of Missouri chain when he became interim chancellor of the school in 2015. The professor of chemistry has been adept at balancing research with the extra work that comes with being a chancellor, dean or director of the many organizations and programs he has led since his career began to grow in the mid 1980s. Foley has helped chemistry and chemical engineering programs at University of Delaware and Penn State flourish before his move to the Show Me State.

On the research side, Foley is most proud of his discovery that nanoporous carbons were not just hexagonal arrays of two to three nanometer domain size arranged chaotically in space. The particles were instead made up of bicontinuous networks with both positive and negative mean internal curvature arising from the inclusion of five and seven membered rings dispersed among the more plentiful six membered rings.

Foley has fond memories of his master's work at Purdue, from research and the quirkiness of his professors. From professor emeritus George Honig's bow ties and tiny cigars he would smoke in his office to hanging out in the crystal growth facilities with his colleagues in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Foley's overall Boilermaker experience helped prepare and launch him into phenomenal academic and research careers.


  • 2016 - Became a fellow in the American Institute of Chemical Engineering
  • 2015 - Became a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement in Science
  • 2014 - Became a fellow in the American Chemical Society
  • 2013 - Became a fellow in the National Academy of Inventors
  • 1986 - Named a National Science Foundation presidential investigator

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