Hall joins Dominican as first Yin endowed professor

Dr. Randall Hall has joined Dominican’s Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics as the first Lillian L. Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D . Endowed Professor of Chemistry at Dominican University of California. Dr. Hall returned to his roots in Marin from Louisiana State University (LSU) where he served as the Webster Parish Alumni Chapter Professor of Chemistry.

Dr. Hall’s research interests and areas of expertise include computer simulation; the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics; simulation and theory of glasses; structure of materials; kinetics and thermodynamics of gas and surface free radical reactions. Dr. Hall uses computer simulations to study materials including nano-particles implicated in production of airborne toxins, hydrogen storage materials, and flame retardant/polymer mixtures used to manufacture a variety of plastic materials.

“The Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. Endowed Professorship in Chemistry allows me to help develop Dominican's growing chemistry program  to work more closely with undergraduates in research and education, to become part of the Dominican community, and to move back to Marin,” Dr. Hall said. “This is an exciting and challenging opportunity. I am delighted to be here and I look forward to working with the members of the community, Dominican and elsewhere.”

Dr. Hall, a 1974 graduate of Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, is the author of 49 publications and has received several LSU awards including the 2001 LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award, recognition from Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society for Superior Instruction of Freshman Students, the Peter A. Soderberg Award for Outstanding Presentation, THE Forum in 1998, and a Faculty Research Award in 1992.

At LSU, Dr. Hall was involved in a number of federally funded projects, receiving support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. In 2010, he and partners from an alliance of Louisiana universities secured one of the state’s largest grants ever from the NSF. The Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Materials Applications (LA-SiGMA) received $20 million in NSF support to create a statewide research and education program focusing on three science drivers: electronic, energy and biomolecular materials. The alliance addressed the need for a critical mass of researchers in experimental and computational materials science by supporting collaborations between scientists and engineers at different institutions through shared graduate students and courses.

Dr. Hall earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1978. In 1984 he received a Ph.D. in Chemistry under the direction of Professor Bruce Berne at Columbia University. Dr. Hall completed his two-year postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Peter Wolynes at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. In 1986, he accepted a position at Louisiana State University to teach chemistry.

The Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. Endowed Professorship in Chemistry was established by a
$2.3 million bequest from the estate of H.B. Yin and Dominican alumna Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. The gift – the largest ever individual gift supporting Dominican’s science program – increased student tuition assistance by augmenting The Lillian L.Y. Wang Yin, Ph.D. (Chemistry, Class of 1951) Scholarship Fund, originally established by H.B. Yin in 2002 in honor of his wife.

Dr. Lillian Yin was born in Shanghai, China and moved to the United States in 1948. She graduated from Dominican in 1951 with a B.S. in Chemistry. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania, Hahnemann Medical College, the Medical College of the University of Pennsylvania, and the State University of New York.

Following her education, Dr. Yin enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the sciences.  She joined the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1968 as a laboratory research chemist.  After advancing to several director level roles within the FDA, Dr. Yin served as the Director of the Division of Reproductive, Abdominal, Ear, Nose and Throat, and Radiological Devices from 1979 to 1999. She led the team that created the FDA’s product development protocol process, winning a Hammer Award in 1999. That same year she joined the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and, shortly before her death in September 2000, she worked for the Office of Regulatory Affairs coordinating efforts on human subject protection and clinical investigators. Dr. Yin was a pioneer who pursued a career in science when few students at Dominican – and few women anywhere – did so.