Skip navigation

Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Chemistry & Biochemistry

More than Beakers and Bunsen Burners

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has an accessible faculty that is dedicated to excellence in both teaching and research. Many have an international reputation in one or both of these areas. Our laboratories, both teaching and research, are equipped with the latest in chemical instrumentation. We offer a variety of degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, and environmental chemistry.

Our goal at the University of Denver is to help you realize your highest potential as an excellent scientist and as a literate and knowledgeable citizen.

Remembering Joseph M. Hornback, Professor Emeritus

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Professor Emeritus Joseph M. Hornback passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 10, 2014.  Dr. Hornback joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Denver as Assistant Professor in 1970.   He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1975 and to full Professor in what was by then the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1998.  Throughout all the time he was here at DU he did an outstanding job teaching Organic chemistry to many hundreds of undergraduates.  He loved teaching, cared deeply about his students and many of his students have warm memories about the Professor Hornback, who was always there to teach, mentor, and offer advice.  He received numerous awards for his teaching.  The most recent of these awards was the University-wide Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005. 

In addition to his teaching he served the University in important administrative roles.   In 1984-1985 he was acting Chair of the Department.   From 1988 – 1993 he was Associate Dean of the College.  From 1991 – 1995 he was director of the Honors Program.  In 1993 he was acting Dean of the College and from 1993 to 1995 he was Associate Dean of NSM.  In 2010-2011 he was interim Chair of the Department.   He handled each of these tasks with skill, while still maintaining his teaching role in the Department.   He retired in June, 2012.

Dr. Hornback is the author of 23 articles in peer-reviewed journals, many of which involved undergraduate students.  He is the author of an organic chemistry text (Brooks/Cole) that is now in its second edition.

We are recognizing Joe's many contributions to DU.

  • The Department is assembling a book of letters from friends and colleagues.  We invite you to write a letter to Joe's wife Melani that shares a favorite event or memory of Joe.  Please email the letter to and we will assemble the book.
  • The University is setting up a Joseph M. Hornback memorial undergraduate scholarship fund.   The family has requested that donations be made to the scholarship fund, in lieu of flowers.

Sandra Eaton, Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Andrei Kutateladze, Dean, Natural Sciences and Mathematics