Craig Fryhle, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry*

Status:Phased Retirement

  • Professional
  • Biography
  • Personal


  • Postdoctoral Research, Organic Chemistry, University of Washington, 1985-1986
  • Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, Brown University, 1985
  • B.A., Chemistry, Gettysburg College, 1979

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Organic Chemistry


Teaching Responsibilities:

Organic Chemistry I and II lecture and laboratory
Chemistry Capstone

Prior Teaching Involvement:

Organic Special Projects Laboratory
Instrumental Analysis
Introduction to Research
Chemistry of Life lecture and laboratory
General Chemistry I
Cosmos, Earth, and Life

Administrative and Service Involvement

Chemistry Department Chair (1999-2015 except during sabbaticals)
University Budget Advisory Committee (2004-2005, 2013-2015)
Academic Performance and Integrity Committee (2019-present)
Instructional Resources Committee (2013-2015)
Campus Life Committee (2018-2019)
University Safety Committee (2018-2019)
Namibia Gateway Program Steering Committee (2014-2016)
Pre-health Sciences Advising Team (1995-present, except during sabbaticals)
Admission and Retention of Students Committee (1990-1993, Chair 1992-1993)
Faculty Governance Committee (1995-1998, Chair, 1997-1998)
Provost’s Enrollment Management Advisory Group (1991-1993)
President’s Educational Assessment Commission (1994-1998, Co-chair 1996-1998)
Faculty Marshall (2010-2011, 2014-2015)
University First Year Core Curriculum Implementation Committee (1992-1993)
Celebration of Science (Academic Festival) Organizing Committee (1995)
Natural Sciences Forum Coordinator (1989-1990)


  • Organic Chemistry co-authored with T. W. Graham Solomons and Scott A. Snyder (John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2016) : View Book


  • Fellow, American Chemical Society
  • Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching, Pacific Lutheran University
  • William T. King Prize for Teaching, Brown University

Professional Memberships/Organizations


Craig Fryhle began his career at PLU  in 1986 working on organic synthesis targets related to natural products and potential mechanism-based enzyme inhibitors of the shikimic acid pathway.   He has mentored undergraduate  researchers in these areas who have gone on to careers in academia, industry and other pursuits.   He has been PI or co-PI on NSF and private foundation grants that have brought approximately $1M to PLU.  In 1993 he began a collaboration with Graham Solomons (University of South Florida) on the textbook Organic Chemistry (John Wiley and Sons, Inc.) leading to coauthorship of the 7th edition in 2000.   Their textbook is used around the world in eight languages.  The 12th edition was published in 2016, with Scott Snyder (University of Chicago) having joined as coauthor with the 11th edition.

As teacher at PLU he has long been interested in innovative pedagogies, nurtured by interactions with local colleagues, Gordon Research Conferences, and ACS meetings.   He has been using a tablet for projected real-time drawing in class since 2009, and started using clickers in 2007.    Supported by an NSF grant with Dean Waldow in 1994 that brought one of the first web and email servers to PLU and the first computational chemistry resources to the Chemistry Department, he started The Organic Journal Club in 1998, an email discussion forum that helped students learn by writing and explaining topics to each other, long before  such tools were available in platforms like forums, chat rooms, and social media.  Students did so much email journaling that limits had to be placed to preserve the university’s primitive band width at the time.

Professor Fryhle was chair of the PLU Chemistry Department from 1999 and 2015 (except for sabbaticals).   He has been a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) for over 25 years.  He was chair of the ACS Puget Sound Section (PSS) in 1999 and currently serves on the ACS PSS Executive Committee as a Councilor and member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect Committee.  He was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2019.

Craig Fryhle teaching at a John Wiley and Sons Lightboard.

Craig Fryhle teaching at a John Wiley and Sons Lightboard.


  • Mountaineering

Fun Facts

  • The North Cascades mountain range in Washington is his favorite place. He has climbed many significant peaks in the North Cascades as well as all of the volcanoes in Washington. He has also climbed the highest peaks on two of the seven continents (South America and Africa), including the highest peak outside of Asia (Aconcagua, 22, 896 ft), and has made two attempts on the highest peak in North America (Denali). His family tops all all of these summits, however. He and his wife have been married over 30 years and have two daughters.


Councilor, American Chemical Society Puget Sound Section
Board Member, Phinney Ridge Community Council
Climbing Instructor, Everett Mountaineers