History of the Minnesota Chromatography Forum

The MCF was born in the minds of a few Minnesota area chromatographers in early 1978. It took final shape on St. Patrick’s Day in 1978 over a pitcher of green beer. In 1979, a constitution was written and passed by the members, declaring the objectives of the MCF to be “…to maintain and promote for education, discussion and exchange of information with respect to all fields of chromatography.”

Toward these objectives, four technical meetings were held, including a notable address by Dr. Les Ettre and culminating in the 1979 Spring Symposium and Exhibition. Chromatographers from the Dakotas, Iowa and Wisconsin joined those from Minnesota to present, discuss, agree and disagree about varied aspects of chromatography. The Spring Symposium was highlighted by the keynote address presented by Professor Barry Karger of Northeastern University. Eighteen years later, the objectives of the MCF remain the same, but the group has grown considerable to current membership of about 600 chromatographers.

The MCF is an independent, non-profit, tax-exempt organization legally incorporated in the State of Minnesota. The constitutionally mandated officers and Board of Directors, elected by the membership and supplemented by an active committee structure, chart the course of the MCF. Past Presidents of the MCF include:

1978-79 Peter Carr
1979-80 Larry Bowers
1980-81 Mark Brenner
1981-82 Jon DeVries
1982-83 John Marhevka
1983-84  Steve Anderson
1984-85  Susan Price
1985-86  Fred Gustafson
1986-87  Steve Pierson
1987-88  Kay Olson
1988-89  Craig Markell
1989-90  Jim Broge
1990-91  Peter Johnson
1991-92  Anne Ochs
1992-93  Gary Reineccius
1993-94  Julie Carver
1994-95  Sandy McDonald
1995-96  Dave Ehresman
1996-97  Lars Pekay
1997-98  David Whitman
1998-99  Luke Charpentier
1999-2000  Ravi Ravichandran
2000-2001  Becky Wittrig
2001-2002  Ward Swanson
2002-2003  Brian Leafblad
2003-2004  Brenda Tjelta
2004-2005  Liesa Shanahan
2005-2006  Franz Rolvaag
2006-2007  Chris Marquardt
2007-2008  Joshua Letze
2008-2009  Emilie Eisen
2009-2010  Ron Schoonmaker
2010-2011  Kelly Boucher
2011-2012  Peter Johnson
2012-2013  Michelle Iverson
2013-2014 Steve Anderson
2014-2015 Renee Kline
2015-2016 Cari Randels

Since the most important function of the MCF is to provide area chromatographers with an opportunity to expand their knowledge of separation science, program planning stresses quality and variety of invited speakers. Each year three evening meetings are held with invited speakers ranging from local experts to leading international chromatographers.

A three-day Spring Symposium and Exhibition has been held in the Twin Cities each year. The Spring Symposium includes short courses, posters and papers by regional chromatographers and invited speakers, exhibits and talks by vendors and a keynote address. The one and one-half to two day short courses vary in topic and level. Basic courses such as Capillary GC, taught by Walter Jennings, are directed at beginners in the technique, while courses such as Advanced HPLC, taught by Lloyd Snyder, are aimed at more experienced chromatographers. Course subjects are selected after reviewing an annual survey of the members for course preferences.

The talks and posters, usually about 35 in number, give area chromatographers a chance to talk about their work. The talks last fifteen minutes with five minutes for questions, and they are grouped into several sessions with respect to subject. Each year, the keynote address is given by a recognized leader in their field of expertise.

A highlight of the Spring Symposium is the presentation of the Palmer Award, Named for L.S. Palmer (1887-1944), former professor at the University of Minnesota and author of an early chromatographic publication on caretenoids and related pigments. The Palmer Award recognizes contributions to the science of chromatography and to the Minnesota Chromatography Forum.

Additional activities of the MCF include the MCF Undergraduate Research Grant–a financial award presented to an area undergraduate involved in chromatography research.

In 1987, the MCF hosted the ASTM Committee E-19 on Chromatography Meeting, in Minneapolis. The MCF also hosted the 25th Annual International Symposium, Advances in Chromatography, in August 1988. In 1994 the MCF hosted the International Symposium on Column Liquid Chromatography – HPLC ‘94.

As in the past, the MCF will continue to stress continuing education and information exchange among area chromatographers as a means of fulfilling a strong commitment to the advancement of chromatography.