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                         1993-94 Julie Carver                               2008-2009 Emilie Eisen
1979-80 Larry Bowers                   1994-95 Sandy McDonald                      2009-2010 Ron Schoonmaker
1980-81 Mark Brenner                  1995-96 Dave Ehresman                        2010-2011 Kelly Boucher
1981-82 Jon DeVries                      1996-97 Lars Pekay                                 2011-2012 Peter Johnson
1982-83 John Marhevka               1997-98 David Whitman                         2012-2013 Michelle Iverson
1983-84 Steve Anderson               1998-99 Luke Charpentier                      2013-2014 Steve Anderson
1984-85 Susan Price                      1999-2000 Ravi Ravichandran              2014-2015 Renee Kline
1985-86 Fred Gustafson               2000-2001 Becky Wittrig                        2015-2016 Cari Randels
1986-87 Steve Pierson                   2001-2002 Ward Swanson                     2016-2017 Sandy McDonald
1987-88 Kay Olson                         2002-2003 Brian Leafblad                    2017-2018 Eric Olson
1988-89 Craig Markell                  2003-2004 Brenda Tjelta                       2018-2019 Katie Rinker
1989-90 Jim Broge                        2004-2005 Liesa Shanahan
1990-91 Peter Johnson                 2005-2006 Franz Rolvaag
1991-92 Anne Ochs                        2006-2007 Chris Marquardt
1992-93 Gary Reineccius              2007-2008 Joshua Letze

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.