I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, but raised in Marshalltown, Iowa. I was educated in the Marshalltown public schools, graduating in 1958. My interest in the sciences was sparked by a number of excellent teachers, of whom "Colonel" Kingsbury, from whom I learned a great deal of chemistry in my junior year, stands out. Following a family pattern, I attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, graduating with a chemistry major and German and mathematics minors in 1962. There, too, I learned from a number of excellent teachers in a variety of disciplines, including two in chemistry, George Kundson and Adrian Docken. It was Professor Docken from whom I got my fist exposure to organic chemistry, and whom I credit with starting me out on what has turned out to be my career-long path.
I chose to head for graduate school in organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), where I was supported by a Danforth Graduate Fellowship (4 years) and NSF Graduate Fellowships (2 years). By the end of the first year (1962-63) I had joined the research group of Dr. David Lemal. Dave was an excellent mentor, and his group a congenial one in which to do research (and find early-morning tennis matches, etc.). As it turned out, he moved to Dartmouth College in the summer of 1965, and three other members of the group and I followed him there to finish our research and help him get his laboratory set up there. I'd completed my course work and other requirements by that time, so when my thesis was finished in late 1966 we returned to Madison for the final oral exam, and I received my Ph.D. from UW in 1967 (major Organic Chemistry, minor Physical Chemistry). While in Madison I met Elizabeth Hopkins, to whom I've been married since the summer of 1965. We spent our first year and a half in New Hampshire, where she taught in the West Lebanon, NH, schools while I finished my research.
On completion of the degree, I joined the laboratory of Professor Glen Russell at Iowa State University for what was to have been a 1 1/2 to 2-year post-doc (supported by an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellowship). As it turned out, however, by May I'd learned (initially from Dave Lemal) of a faculty opening in the chemistry department at Lawrence, and had been offered the job. As a result I joined the Lawrence faculty in the fall of 1967.
I began as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in 1967, was tenured in 1973, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1976, and to Professor in 1989. In 1993 I was named Robert McMillen Professor of Chemistry.
I have been the principal (in most years the only) organic chemist in a 5-person department, teaching a two-term introductory organic course with laboratory annually and a one-term advanced organic course (without lab) on a roughly every-other-year basis. I've also taught essentially all of our general chemistry courses at one time or another, ranging from one-term accelerated introductory courses, to our standard two-term introductory chemistry course, to one-term "general education" courses for non-science majors. I also participated in teaching a novel integrated introduction to chemistry and physics (calculus level) that existed here at Lawrence for a number of years. More recently I introduced an instrumental analysis course in 1986 and taught it until it was taken over by a colleague in 2000. In the late 90s I also took a turn at an advanced laboratory course that served as the physical chemistry laboratory experience for our majors. Finally, I've taught Lawrence's "Freshman Studies" course at least 10 times.
Those courses represent something over 1500 students I've met in my classes. They have stimulated me, challenged me, and kept me very busy at times, and I've enjoyed nearly every one of those encounters. Among them are nearly 80 students who have carried out research projects in my laboratory for at least one academic term. Many of those worked for a full academic year, a full summers, or more. Ten of them completed honors papers and earned honors at graduation based on their research. I particularly appreciated the Mortar Board Honorary Award (voted by the members of this honor society to recognize "a faculty member or administrator who best advanced the spirit of scholarship, recognizes and encourages leadership, and provides service, those ideals upon which Mortar Board is established) I received at Honors Day in 1988.
I've also offered a week-long summer enrichment program for teachers of high school AP Chemistry courses, either in collaboration with Professor Rosenberg or alone, in the summers of 1987, 88, and 90. I directed and/or did approximately half the teaching in the "SummerScience" chemistry workshop - a two-week program for rising high school seniors - from 1988 through 1994.
I've chaired the chemistry department for several stretches, since there's a tradition of passing that post around every few years. In recent years, because of some turnover that has left us with a largely untenured department, I've held the post more often. As a result, I was the department chair in 1976-79, 1987-89, 1992-95, and have now been in that position since 1998.
In terms of Lawrence faculty governance, I've served on a wide range of faculty committees and task forces, including the Faculty Committee on University Governance (2 years, one as chair), Committee on Honors (4 years, 2 as chair), Committee on Tenure (7 years, 2 as chair), Science Hall Building Committee (6 years up to and including 2000-2001, the year in which our new building opened), Conservatory of Music Planning Committee (1 year), a Task Force on Student Life and the Dean of Students Office, an Academic Calendar Task Force, and (continuously since 1975) the Health Careers Advisory Committee. I've also served as Lawrence's representative on the executive committee of the Pew Midstates Science and Mathematics Consortium since Lawrence joined that group in 1995.
There have also been many personal or non-professional highlights, a few of which follow:
Our two children were born here in Appleton, and have grown up here. We've been proud of their many accomplishments and of the successful young adults they have become. The arrival of two grandchildren in the past few years has been a special treat as well, and we hope to have many years of watching them grow up as well.
We've been active members of Trinity Lutheran Church here in Appleton since not long after we arrived.
I've had the opportunity to sing with a number of local choral groups in many performances. Most notable of those is the White Heron Chorale, a semi-professional chorus currently numbering about 65 singers, of which I've been a member since its inception (as the Wisconsin Vocal Ensemble) in the fall of 1978. With this group I've had the pleasure of singing with conductors and artists including Margaret Hillis, Dave Brubeck, Richard Westermeyer and Dale Duesing among others, and of learning and performing many of the world's major choral works with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, the Fox Valley Symphony, or the Green Bay Symphony.
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