Skip to main content

Chemist Couple to Give First Ever Dual Harrington Lecture Oct. 24

Old Main on the University of South Dakota campus Mary Berry, Ph.D., and Stanley May, Ph.D. will give the annual Harrington Lecture Thursday, Oct. 24 in Farber Hall.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Mary Berry, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and vice president of research and sponsored programs, and Stanley May, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, will be the first co-lecturers in the 67-year tradition of the annual Harrington Lectures given by a senior faculty member in the USD College of Arts & Sciences.

Berry and May, who are also married, will speak on “Lanthanides, Lasers, and the Liberal Arts.” In this lecture, they will present an overview of their individual research in luminescent nanomaterials and provide a personal perspective on the role of research at a liberal arts institution. The lecture takes place on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Farber Hall in Old Main at 7:30 p.m.

Mary Berry headshot

Mary Berry received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Virginia with a specialization in lanthanide spectroscopy. In 1991 she joined the chemistry faculty at USD, where she has remained for the last 28 years. During that time Berry served as the chair of chemistry, director of the PhotoActivated Nanoscale Systems collaborative and currently serves as vice president for research and sponsored programs. Berry’s current research area is in mathematical modeling of upconversion dynamics and of nanocrystal growth mechanisms.

Stanley May headshot

Stanley May earned his Ph.D. in physical inorganic chemistry from the University of Virginia in 1988. He joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry in 1994, where he currently holds the rank of professor. He was director of one of the first S.D. Governors Research Centers, which focused on light-activated materials. He is currently the associate director of the Center for Security Printing and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology, which is a research collaborative involving scientists and engineers from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and South Dakota State University. His expertise is in laser spectroscopy, plasmonics, electronic structure of metal ions, and nanotechnology. May’s current research interest is in basic and applied research in the synthesis and characterization of novel photonic nanomaterials.

Named in 1966 in honor of Elbert Harrington, professor of speech and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (1945-1970), the lecture is an annual event featuring a distinguished professor with long-standing service to the College of Arts & Sciences. Each year a faculty committee in Arts & Sciences recommends to the dean the name of a faculty member to deliver the Harrington Lecture. The faculty member must be a teacher and scholar, and the lecture must be non-technical, blending insight into liberal education with the faculty member’s work as a scholar. A reception will be held immediately following the lecture.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News