EASTERN COLLEGES SCIENCE CONFERENCE
The first Eastern Colleges Science Conference (ECSC) was organized in 1947 by undergraduate Pauline Newman at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The aim then, as now, was to stimulate interest in undergraduate research in the sciences and related fields and to provide a lively forum for the presentation of research papers. Pauline Newman received her bachelor's degree in chemistry and went on to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale. About 22 schools attended the first conference, and the theme was "Science, Philosophy and Society."
The constitution of the ECSC was ratified on April 24, 1948 at Union College in Schenectady NY, making the conference a self-sustaining body.
In 1972 the Pennsylvania State University was named the repository for all official documents of the ECSC. Professor Stanley Shepherd was named the permanent secretary of ECSC. In 1980 Professor Shepherd stepped down and Professor Gerard O'Leary from Providence College was elected to the post. At the 35th annual conference a steering committee was established to assist in directing the activities of the ECSC.
In 1983 the ECSC was incorporated in Rhode Island and now operates with a Board of Directors, elected from faculty of the participating colleges and universities. In 1986 Professor Gerard O'Leary stepped down, and Professor Edward Gabriel of Lycoming College was elected Chair of ECSC. In 1995 Dr. Gabriel was succeeded by Professor Lance Evans of Manhattan College. Today (2009), Professor Michael Kotarski, Niagara University, is Chair of the Board of Directors, while Professor Donald Stearns, Wagner College, is President of the organization.
Over the years interest has increased in the conference and over 50 colleges and universities have attended this annual event. Over time the range of subject matter has also expanded and now covers computer science and behavioral and social sciences, as well as the original areas of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and engineering.
In the past 50 or so years, there have been many hosts of the ECSC conference which have encompassed a large geographical area. Conference participants have traveled as far south as Raleigh, NC, as far north as Fredonia, NY, as far east as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and as far west as Pittsburgh, PA. Conferences have been held at small liberal arts colleges, at state universities, and at the United States armed services academies in Annapolis and West Point. The opportunity to experience a wide variety of different locales has enhanced the ECSC experience for faculty and student participants.