The Howard lectures are funded by a bequest left to both Usyd and UNSW in 1993 by the late Harold Theodore Howard.

Howard obtained his B.Sc. from the Sydney University and graduated from Sydney Teachers College in Chemistry and Organic Chemistry (Pure and Applied). He taught chemistry for many years (1925-62) and upon retirement in 1966 carried out further research in saponins and steroid chemistry as an Honorary Research Associate at Macquarie University (1966-77) and the University of New South Wales (1978-85).

The Howard lectures are delivered at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales by a scientist who has pre-eminence in the area of Organic Chemistry or a related discipline.