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Lemont "Monty" Kier
Lemont “Monty” Kier

The American Association of Nurse Anesthesia honored Lemont “Monty” Kier with its Didactic Instructor of the Year Award during the AANA’s 2013 Annual Meeting Aug. 10 in Las Vegas. The annual award, established in 1991, is granted to the professor who is deemed to have made significant contributions to the education of nurse anesthesia graduate students and to the specialty at large.

“Over his near 60-year academic career, Dr. Kier’s record depicts a fulfilled professional life sought by many but achieved by so very few, a life of service,” said Michael Fallacaro, chairman of VCU School of Allied Health Profession’s Department of Nurse Anesthesia. “[He] has taught VCU students for over three decades, always to rave reviews.”

In 1977, Kier was recruited by VCU School of Pharmacy as chairman of its then-Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He stepped down from the chairmanship in 1987 and remained as professor till 2004. He “retired” as an emeritus professor but began working as a senior founding fellow for the VCU Center for the Study of Biological Complexity.  He is an affiliate professor with the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science.

And, as is evident by his upcoming award, he teaches medicinal chemistry to nurse anesthesia students. He began teaching in students in VCU’s Department of Nurse Anesthesia on an adjunct basis in the mid-1990s.

Fallacaro noted that the second edition of Kier’s text, “Medicinal Chemistry and Physics for Nurse Anesthetists,” is a leading source used by anesthesia programs nationwide. “More recently, Dr. Kier published a seminal paper on the theory of narcosis, a longtime mystery to the anesthesia community.”

In total, Kier has published more than 290 articles and seven books. (He is working on his eighth book now.) Other books include “Molecular Orbital Theory in Drug Research,” which opened up a whole new area in research.

“My long suit has been research,” Kier said. “But to get an award in teaching? I never dreamed anything like that would happen. I hope the benefits of the award will accrue to the benefit of the nurse anesthesia department and to the university.

“Working in an outstanding department with outstanding students makes it easier to achieve these things, as well as coming out of a university that’s really on a roll. I told [VCU President] Rao that I would like to keep doing this for many more years.”

Umesh Desai, a colleague and professor in the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry, said Kier has served as a mentor “since the time I started at VCU. I remember the days we would go out for a walk during lunchtime, and he would drop some helpful thoughts to guide me through the initial rough period. His was a constant encouraging voice.

“Now when I look back, I realize that was ‘education’: to ‘draw out’ the best in person without being made to realize that you are being taught.”

Perhaps, Desai said, the Didactic Instructor of the Year Award recognizes this quality in Kier.

In 2008, Kier won the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ Research Achievement Award in Drug Design and Discovery, and in 2004 he was honored with Virginia’s Lifetime Achievement in Science Award.

The Oxford English Dictionary credits Kier with the first use in published English of the word “pharmacophore,” a concept at the heart of computer-aided drug design that Kier introduced in a series of papers published 1967-71.








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