Madeleine Jacobs, B.S. '68, D.Sc. (Honorary) '03, trustuee
Madeleine Jacobs is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, an organization of presidents, presidents-elect, and recent past presidents of about sixty scientific federations and societies whose combined membership numbers well over 1 million scientists and science educators. Prior to assuming this position in March 2015, Jacobs was Executive Director and CEO of the American Chemical Society (2004-February 2015) with 160,000 members.
Jacobs served for 10 years as Managing Editor (1993-95) and Editor-in- Chief (1995-2003) of ACS’s weekly newsmagazine, Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN), where she also worked early in her career (1969-72). She has also worked at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (1972-74), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (1974-79), and the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex, where she was chief science writer (1979-87) and director of the Office of Public Affairs (1987-93).
Jacobs received a B.S. in chemistry with honors and distinction in 1968 and an honorary Doctor of Science in 2003 from George Washington University (GWU). She completed a year of graduate study in organic chemistry at the University of Maryland in 1969.
Jacobs is a member of the George Washington University Board of Trustees (appointed 2012), where she serves as chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs and is a member of the Executive Committee. She is currently chairing the GW Presidential Search Committee. She is also on the Board of Trustees of the GW Museum and Textile Museum Board and co-chair of the GW Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Campaign Fund. She serves on the George Washington University National Council for the College of Arts and Sciences.
She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Harpswell Foundation (dedicated to empowering women in developing nations). She is currently chair of the ACS Committee on Minority Affairs and the Honorary Chair of the ACS Scholars Anniversary Appeal Committee. She is also a member of the ACS Pensions & Investments Committee.
Jacobs has received a number of awards, including the Smithsonian Institution Gold Medal for Exceptional Service (1993) for her work in diversity and inclusion, the New York Academy of Sciences Women’s History Month Award (2002), the ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences (2003), the American Crystallographic Association Public Service Award (2004), the Award for Executive Excellence sponsored by the Commercial Development and Marketing Association and the Chemical Heritage Foundation (2004), and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) President’s Award (2010). She was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004. In 2012, Jacobs was chosen as one of 100 Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) by STEMconnector™.
Throughout her career, Jacobs has been focused on promoting science and technology careers to young women and girls and minorities at all educational levels to motivate them to achieve their greatest potential. She has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion throughout her career. Another theme in her career is the importance of communicating science to general audiences. As Editor-in- Chief of Chemical & Engineering News, she had significant impact on the public perception of chemistry and on the profession of chemistry itself.