Associate Dean of the Sciences and Professor of Chemistry
Education: B. S., University of Florida; Ph.D., Texas Tech University
Dr. Timothy Ward's laid-back persona might come from his upbringing at the beach in Pensacola, but he has always been unequivocally serious about his education, regardless of its direction. In the midst of his college experience, his interest turned a complete 180 degrees from humanities to science after taking general chemistry.
"My co-workers and students see me as a very accomplished scientist, running the lab, et cetera, et cetera, and assume I've been a science geek all my life," Ward says. "It amazes people when I tell them I was really into humanities until my second year of college." After earning his undergraduate degree in chemistry, he received his doctorate in analytical chemistry with a concentration in separation techniques.
After several years in the pharmaceutical field, he moved to Millsaps College, beginning as an assistant professor. He says Millsaps was the ideal place for him because of the genuine camaraderie among everyone on campus. "People go out of their way to be kind to each other; people don't invest 30 or 40 years of their life at an institution that is indifferent to their employees," Ward said.
When he began at Millsaps, his focused his research on forensic chemical science, and he felt that a forensic lab, funded by the Keck foundation, was an essential element for Millsaps and would benefit several departments. He took the idea to Dr. George Bey and Dr. Michael Galaty in the sociology-anthropology department and Dr. Sarah Lea Anglin in the biology department, and they worked on obtaining an interdisciplinary grant to fund the W.M. Keck Center for Instrumental and BioChemical Comparative Archaeology. On Ward's side, the lab supports the forensic science of biochemistry. Among other applications, he wanted to be able to teach how to isolate components in forensic science to answer archaeological questions that were previously unanswerable.
The Keck Lab has analyzed European and Central American archaeological artifacts from places such as Albania, Sweden and Mexico, and collaborates with universities and colleges throughout the nation.
"What is truly remarkable about the Keck Lab is the diversity of projects it can support. In addition to the archaeological research, the lab has developed collaborations with the Audubon society on projects such as the gulf oil spill, assisted pre-med and other Millsaps students in the sciences with their research projects and supported a recycling project through the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence in the Else School of business," Ward said.
Ward says one of the most wonderful traits of the college is the student-centered culture and what happens outside the classroom including mentoring, joint research projects between students and faculty, and having impromptu conversations. Professionally, personal relationships with students are what keep the dean down to earth. "I've never had a student come and ask me a question that I don't put down what I'm doing and answer it," Ward says.
His best advice that he gives all his students comes directly from his father - "The number one thing to do in life is to find something you truly love. If you love what you do, you're going to have a happy life."