wedding trip. “The culture is very different
as soon as you get off the plane.”
Their traditional Nigerian wedding was
full of pageantry and unique customs.
Onyejekwe wore a bright, colorful, glittering
gown along with a large head tie. Pulliam
got a crash course in Nigerian traditions,
which he aced, of course, by presenting
Onyejekwe’s father with gifts and a dowry.
As is customary at the celebration, Pulliam
hid so Onyejekwe could “find” her husband.
The single men in attendance tried to play-
fully sway Onyejekwe’s decision, but in the
end, she found her man, sipped palm wine,
shared vows and was wed.
On Oct. 24, the newly married couple
enjoyed a second wedding ceremony with
Pulliam’s family in attendance at Light of
the World Church in Indianapolis. Longtime
friends Evans and Baldwin also were
The College of Science has a history of
preparing students for medical school.
Historically, most of them have a Department
of Biological Sciences background, but
Onyejekwe’s success is a reminder that
chemistry students can succeed in the
medical field, too.
“It’s definitely been a challenge,
because I hadn’t had that exposure to biol-
ogy,” Onyejekwe says. “The thought process
in biology is different than in chemistry. I
found it easier to think critically, but more
difficult to just memorize without knowing
the path of physiology behind the
Like Onyejekwe, who wants to be a
general practice doctor, Pulliam has a pas-
sion for the medical field — except he’s
looking through the lens of analytical
chemistry. Pulliam’s recent theoretical
project has a focus on quicker and better
detection of melanoma and other skin
cancers. “It was combining my love for being
in the lab with my interest in medicine as
well,” he says.
And after all these years, Pulliam and
Onyejekwe still study together. Science
continues to bond them, as does the drive
to succeed in their fields.
“We’re not limited to just discussing
chemistry when it comes to helping one
another,” Pulliam says. “We both studied
for her medical school exams. … Then I’d
do practice presentations in front of her, and
she would give me critical feedback. One of
the benefits of her not being so strictly
focused on chemistry anymore is that she
can tell me when things don’t make sense
to a general audience.”
For Wendell Dilling and Marcia Taylor,
chemistry class created a bond for a
The pair met in 1956 at Manchester
College in Indiana as undergraduate
students in chemistry. Wendell, a junior,
was lab assistant for Marcia’s sophomore
quantitative analysis class, and lab assistance quickly catalyzed a romance.
In 1958, following Wendell’s senior
year and Marcia’s junior year, they were
married in Marcia’s hometown of Polo,
Illinois. The couple’s love for chemistry
led them to Purdue, where they lived in a
one-room apartment on Ross-Ade Drive
while continuing their studies.
Wendell pursued his doctoral degree
in organic chemistry, while Marcia worked
part-time toward a bachelor’s degree in
chemistry. She also worked alongside
longtime Purdue professor Jonathan Amy,
a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy.
Marcia focused on obtaining infrared
spectra needed by graduate students, such
as Wendell, for their research. After completing their degrees at Purdue, they
moved to Midland, Michigan.
Wendell and Marcia stayed loyal to
their degrees and worked as chemists for
Dow Chemical Co. until retirement. Along
the way they had a daughter, Robin, who
became a CPA after years of growing up
surrounded by a household of chemists,
and two granddaughters, Natasha and
In recognition of their time at Purdue
and with assistance from Dow Chemical,
they established the Wendell and Marcia
Dilling Chemistry Scholarship to support
students pursuing chemistry majors at