Professor William Lester while he was at IBM. Photo courtesy William Lester.
Dr. William Alexander Lester, Jr, is a Chemist & Educator for the University of California, Berkeley. He was just recently selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019 and as Top Chemist Educator of the Year for 2018 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for his outstanding leadership and commitment to the field.
With close to 6 decades of professional experience as a seasoned and trusted Chemist and Educator, Dr. Lester has certainly proven himself as an accomplished professional and expert in the field. He has demonstrated success not only as a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UC, Berkeley, but in all of his prior positions.
His impressive repertoire of prior roles have included Physical Chemist with the National Bureau of Standards in Washington DC; Staff Scientist and Manager, IBM San Jose Research Laboratory; Director of the National Resource for Computation in Chemistry and concurrently an Associate Director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Associate Dean for the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley.
While he was a Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, Dr. Lester was also a Faculty Senior Scientist at LBNL. Dr. Lester received his S.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from The Catholic University of America in 1964. Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Lester has been active in his community and recognized worldwide for his outstanding leadership and commitment in the fields of chemistry and higher education. He has received many awards, accolades and has been featured in numerous publications multiple years in a row such as Marquis Who's Who, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, Who's Who in the West, and Who's Who in the World.
For 2020, Dr. Lester is being considered to be inducted into the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP's) Hall of Fame. For 2019 selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award. For 2018 he was selected as Top Chemist Educator of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). In 1996 he was the recipient of an Outstanding Service Award by the National Science Foundation. In· 1986 he was the recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. In 1983, the Catholic University of America honored him with the Alumni Award in Science and in 1979 he received the Percy L. Julian Award by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.
Aside from his successful career as a Professor, Dr. Lester is also a soughtafter lecturer, speaker, published author and contributor to over 200 papers and professional journals. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, the California Academy of Sciences and an elected member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science.
Looking back, Dr. Lester attributes his success to his experience, education, mentors he has had along the way and staying passionate in all his endeavors. Dr. Lester says he has been blessed; he loves doing what he is doing. When he is not working Dr. Lester enjoys traveling, reading and the arts. For the future Dr. Lester hopes to continue to make a positive difference in people's lives anyway that he can.