Bobbitt and Fritsch Named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

Donald R. Bobbitt, left, and Ingrid Fritsch have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors
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Donald R. Bobbitt, left, and Ingrid Fritsch have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Donald R. Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System, and Ingrid Fritsch, both members of the chemistry and biochemistry faculty at the University of Arkansas, have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

Bobbitt and Fritsch and 168 other fellows in the class of 2014 will be recognized by the academy with a full-page announcement in The Chronicle of Higher Education on Jan. 16, and in forthcoming issues of Inventors Digest and Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society, according to the academy.

Bobbitt, a 2014 initiate into the academy, was awarded patents for discoveries he made in the 1990s as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He joined the faculty in 1985 and received a University of Arkansas Alumni Association Award in Teaching and the Fulbright College Master Teacher Award, among other honors. He served as dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the U of A from 2003-08.

Bobbitt has been president of the University of Arkansas System since Nov. 1, 2011. Before that, he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington from 2008-11.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized as a fellow in the National Academy of Inventors,” Bobbitt said. “Over the years I have had the pleasure and great fortune to work with an exceptional group of students and colleagues and this recognition is a tribute to their innovativeness and creativity.”

Fritsch was initiated into the National Academy of Inventors in 2013. She came to the U of A faculty in 1992 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a postdoctoral associate.

She is the recipient of the 1997 Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation Career Award, an NSF Special Creativity Extension and an American Chemical Society Chemistry Ambassadorship.  She holds 10 U.S. patents and has co-founded two startup companies. She is currently on the board of directors of SFC Fluidics Inc.

“I’m delighted to be named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors,” Fritsch said. “This recognition validates my vision and efforts toward building up the science and technology base in Arkansas in association with the area’s scientific and business community with meaningful impact on the world.

“Scientific advances do not take place in a vacuum,” she said. “They require a cooperative endeavor of inspiring people with diverse expertise. I accept this recognition on behalf of the team of co-inventors, students, and collaborators with whom new ideas have blossomed and discoveries have been made. I am also grateful to my university, region, and state, where research and entrepreneurship are encouraged and supported.”

Hameed Naseem, professor of electrical engineering at the U of A, was in the inaugural class of fellows last year.

The total number of NAI Fellows now stands at 414, representing more than 150 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions. The U of A is a charter member of the National Academy of Inventors, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010.

The 2014 NAI Fellows will be inducted by the deputy commissioner for patent operations from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 20, during the fourth-annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, medal and rosette pin.

Included among all the NAI Fellows are 21 Nobel Laureates, 61 presidents and senior leaders at research universities and nonprofit research institutes, 208 members of other national academies and 21 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

The complete list of NAI Fellows can be found at

University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines; contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research and creative activity; and provides service to academic and professional disciplines and to society in general, all aimed at fulfilling its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research.


Nate Hinkel, interim director of communications
University of Arkansas System

Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor
University Relations


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