The Herbert Newby McCoy Award


Annual announcement is distributed to the West Lafayette campus academic deans and faculty in late November. Nominations are due in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships. The Selection Committee comprised of representatives of the science faculties meets in the spring or early summer.

Background & Guidelines

The Herbert Newby McCoy Award was established in 1964 by Mrs. Ethel Terry McCoy in honor of her husband, a distinguished Purdue alumnus. A native of Indiana, Herbert Newby McCoy studied chemistry at Purdue University where he received a B.S. degree in 1892 and a M.S. degree in 1893. His Ph.D. was earned at the University of Chicago in 1898. McCoy spent the early part of his career, teaching at North Dakota State University, the University of Utah, and the University of Chicago. During the latter part of his career, he was president of Carnotite Reduction Company in Chicago and vice president of Lindsay Light and Chemical Company, also in Chicago. He died in 1945 in Los Angeles, California.

To support her husband's life-long interest in science, Mrs. McCoy designated that this annual award be made to a student or faculty member in the science departments of Purdue University making the greatest contribution of the year to science. Since the first award was conferred in the spring of 1965, it has remained the most prestigious research award given by the University in the natural sciences area. Nominations are invited from all faculty members, and the recipient is selected by representatives of the science faculties and the president of the University.

An individual cannot be nominated for both the McCoy Award and the Arden L. Bement Jr. Award, as this latter award is limited to faculty not eligible for the McCoy Award. The Herbert Newby McCoy Award is intended to honor a recent past achievement(s) of major scientific impact; the award is not a "lifetime achievement" award.

The Award

The Herbert Newby McCoy Award consists of a monetary prize of $4,000 plus an additional contribution of $7,000 to support the research of the recipient.

Who is Eligible

Any student or faculty member on the West Lafayette campus who has made a recent significant contribution in the natural sciences is eligible for nomination for the award, regardless of school or departmental affiliation.

Investigators are eligible to receive only one of the University-wide research awards.


Nominations are solicited from all members of the West Lafayette campus University faculty. An electronic copy of each nomination should be forwarded to the McCoy Award Committee, in c/o Sherri Neibert ( Nominations may be made by any member of the University.

Nomination Instructions

Nomination packets should be submitted electronically to Sherri Neibert ( Nominations may be made by any member of the University community. The nomination packet should include:

  1. A concise summary statement, not more than two pages in length, that describes the impact and significance of the nominee’s recent work justifying nomination for the McCoy Award.
  2. The nominee's curriculum vitae.
  3. A complete list of all publications or similar works produced during the five-year period preceding January 1, 2016.
  4. Copies of no more than five publications, manuscripts, or similar works that substantiate the impact of the contribution.
  5. Any additional supporting information that the nominator considers to be significant.
  6. Include no more than five letters supporting the impact and significance of the nominee’s contribution to science.  Letters supporting previous nominations for the award may be submitted if they were written within the preceding three years.

Award Process

To help the selection committee appreciate the impact and significance of the nominee’s work, nominators (or their representatives) will be invited to make a brief presentation and answer questions during the selection committee meeting. This presentation carries substantial weight in the selection process as it allows committee members to more fully understand the impact of the work.

Award Presentation

The recipient of the Herbert Newby McCoy Award is notified via the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships and the award is bestowed at the annual Excellence in Research Awards dinner in late October or early November. In addition, the recipient addresses the Purdue community at the McCoy Distinguished Lecture.

McCoy Distinguished Lecture

The McCoy Distinguished Lecture provides the Purdue community the opportunity to hear the McCoy Award winner describe his/her honored research. The Lecture was instituted in 1989 and is now an annual fall event at the University. It is held in Fowler Hall, Stewart Center and is followed by a reception in honor of the McCoy Award recipient. All past McCoy award winners receive a formal invitation to attend the distinguished lecture. Those who are present receive special recognition by the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships prior to the start of the lecture.

Recognition Dinner

All past and present McCoy awardees are invited to the Excellence in Research Awards Dinner. The dinner program includes the presentation of the McCoy award to the current awardee(s) by the President of the University, and special recognition is given to past McCoy awardees in attendance at the dinner.

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