Herbert Edmund Carter


Honorary Degree (1974)
Doctor of Science
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John W. Ryan


Born in Mooresville, Indiana, Herbert Edmund Carter received his A.B. degree from DePauw University in 1930. He went on to graduate work at the University of Illinois and received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from that University in 1931 and 1934 respectively.

On completion of his Ph.D. in organic chemistry, Dr. Carter accepted an appointment in biochemistry where he advanced from Instructor to Professor over the period 1934-45. He was Head of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from 1954-67, Acting Dean of the Graduate College from 1963-65, and Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois from 1967-71. In 1971 he moved to the University of Arizona, where he is presently serving as Coordinator of Interdisciplinary Programs.

When Dr. Carter joined the biochemistry staff at Illinois, he undertook to synthesize threonine, an essential amino acid which had just been isolated. Following the amino acid work, his two main areas of research interest were antibiotic chemistry and the biochemistry of complex lipids. The former area came as a result of his work during the war years on penicillin as consultant for the midwest antibiotic group. Following the war, and with continued support by the midwest pharmaceutical group, Dr. Carter made extensive contributions to the chemistry of streptomycin, streptothricin, and neamine, and he isolated and characterized a number of new antibiotics including the polyene antibiotic filipin.

Dr. Carter has served the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Biological Chemists, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Research Council in many capacities. He is a past president of the American Society of Biological Chemists. He is currently a member of the Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs. He served for several years on the Executive Committee of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the National Research Council and was Chairman of the U.S. National Committee on the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and a member of the U.S. National Committee on the International Union of Biochemistry. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1953 and served as Chairman of the Biochemistry Section in 1963-66. He was elected to the National Science Board in 1964 and has served as Chairman since 1970. He was Chairman of the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science in 1965-67 and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Nutrition Foundation since 1970.

Dr. Carter received the Eli Lilly Award in Biochemistry in 1943 and an Honorary Sc.D. degree from DePauw University in 1953. He received the Nichols Medal in 1964, the American Oil Chemists' Society Award in Lipid Chemistry in 1966, the Kenneth Spencer Award in 1968, and the Alton E. Bailey Award in 1970. He was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1966.

Dr. Carter is married to the former Elizabeth W. DeWees. They have two daughters.