Dr. Patrick G. Barber

Dr. Patrick BarberVisiting Professor of Chemistry
Gilmer Hall, 217


B. S., Stanford University, 1964;
Ph. D., Cornell University, 1969

Patrick Barber was born in California and educated in public schools from the Territory of Hawaii to the Commonwealth of Virginia. He graduated from high school in Silverdale, Washington, in 1960. He attended Stanford University graduating in June of 1964 with a BS degree in chemistry. His senior research project was a study of the thermal expansion coefficients of normal paraffin hydrocarbons under the direction of Prof. Paul J. Flory. Moving east, he attended graduate school at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, studying in the Departments of Chemistry and Material Sciences. His doctoral thesis was a crystallographic study of the cyclic decapeptide antibiotic Gramicidin-S under the direction of Prof. Robert Hughes. After graduation in December of 1969, he accepted a post-doctoral position in the Department of Chemistry at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he used x-ray crystallography to study the structures of nematic and smectic liquid crystals and used low-angle x-ray crystallography to study the end-to-end distances in polymers in solution. Dr. Barber was hired by the newly opened Southside Virginia Community College in Keysville, Virginia, in 1971. There he taught chemistry, mathematics, and computer sciences, and for three years he served as Chairman of the Division of Arts and Sciences. In 1978 he moved to the nearby Longwood College where he taught a wide variety of chemistry courses in the Department of Natural Sciences. He developed and added courses in polymer chemistry, laboratory safety, and chemistry in art to the curriculum. For more than two decades he served as Director and Co-Director of Chemistry. In December 2004, he retired from full-time teaching at Longwood University. 

Since Longwood University is an undergraduate liberal arts institution, there were opportunities to work with students on research projects that were limited in scope and cost. To supplement these opportunities, Dr. Barber engaged in research with his students during the academic year; and during the summers, he joined research teams at large laboratories undertaking a variety of research projects, all of which involved the structure of matter. These projects involved materials used under the sea, on the surface of the earth, and those used in space. Specifically, he worked on improved batteries for electric cars, stress-strain analysis for metals for submarines, corrosion in marine gas-turbine engines, growth of semiconductor crystals on earth and in space, and growth of pharmaceutical crystals. These laboratories were in the U.S., the former East Germany, and in Spain.

In his teaching, the laboratory provided the greatest stimulus to students to pursue careers in science. He has even developed a laboratory program to benefit home schooled students.

After retiring, Dr. Pat has continued his service to the community and the chemistry profession as well as being more active in gardening and woodshop projects. Dr. Barber actively keeps honey bees and produces local forest honey.

He served many years through December 2007 on the governing board for Central Virginia Health Services, which is an organization providing health services to citizens throughout Central and Southside Virginia. Since the mid-1970's he has served on the Executive Board for the Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society, and served as one of the three elected Councilors for the Section for nine years.   In this last capacity he served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Professional Services, SPS, under the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs, CEPA. This committee is responsible for the Job Placement and Career Development Activities of the American Chemical Society among other duties.

From the fall of 2007 through the spring of 2010, Hampden-Sydney College invited Dr. Barber to be a Visiting Professor of Chemistry and to fill in for chemistry faculty members who were on sabbatical leaves. He was invited again to return to Hampden-Sydney College for the fall semester of 2015.

He and his wife, Patricia, have lived in Keysville, Virginia, for over forty-four years.  She is a registered dietitian who retired in 2002 from Southside Community Hospital in Farmville. She has also worked at other hospitals in the area, for the Virginia State Department of Health, several local medical clinics, and area nursing homes. She is active as a member of the board for the local Meals-on-Wheels program in Charlotte County, Virginia. Pat and Pat have two children. David completed his Ph.D. degree in toxicology from the University of Arizona. For ten years he was on the faculty at the Veterinary College at the University of Florida. David's wife, Carol, is a graphics artist.  Dawn, a graduate of Longwood College, finished her M.S. degree in speech-language pathology at Central Michigan University. She worked as a speech therapist in Virginia schools, and now is employed as a clinical speech therapist for several home health agencies in Richmond, Virginia.