Westcott named 2023 Distinguished Service Award winner

Marisa Nadolny

Central conferred its 2023 Distinguished Service Award on Dr. Barry Westcott of New Britain, a professor of Chemistry.

Central President Zulma R. Toro announced Dr. Westcott as this year’s Distinguished Service Award (DSA) winner on Sept. 14 during the university’s annual opening meeting for faculty and staff. 

She noted, “As educators, we often discuss the power of higher education and its potential to change lives. This year’s Distinguished Service Award winner, Dr. Barry Westcott, has proven that to be true time and time again.”

The DSA is one of the university’s highest honors. It recognizes members of the Central community who have provided exemplary service to the university. Nominations for the award are submitted by faculty and staff, students, and peers at other institutions of higher learning.

In their nomination letters, Dr. Westcott’s colleagues repeatedly lauded him for his work ethic, creativity, leadership, and dedication to the success of students and his colleagues.

Dr. Westcott joined the Chemistry faculty in 1997, and, within a year, he founded Central’s popular Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Program. He went on to serve in several critical leadership roles, including Chemistry Department chair; chair of the Honors Program curriculum revision committee; co-chair of the Chemistry Transfer Articulation Program; and associate to the dean of the School of Engineering, Science and Technology. 

Outside of Central, Dr. Westcott served on the Connecticut Department of Higher Education Nanotechnology Initiative from 2007 to 2008, which brought together members of academia, government, and industry to develop post-secondary nanotechnology programs in Connecticut.

From 2008 to 2009 and once again in 2012, Dr. Westcott served as chair of the Connecticut Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.

For his efforts in the classroom, students presented Dr. Westcott with the 2019 Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Award and the 2018 Open Education Resources Pioneer of the Year Award from the Student Government Association. The latter award was based on Dr. Westcott's work to find and adopt an open-source general chemistry textbook, which greatly reduces chemistry students' overall expenses.

Dr. Westcott holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with Honors and Distinction from Pennsylvania State University at Erie, The Behrend College, and a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Arizona.