Labors and Legacies: The Chemists of Penn State, 1855-1947


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Presentation at a breakfast reception honoring emeritus faculty of the Penn State chemistry department, November 2006

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Labors and Legacies: The Chemists of Penn State, 1855-1947

  1. 1. EVAN PUGH President and Professor of Chemistry, 1860 - 1864
  2. 2. “If this Institution is sustained as it should be; if its EVAN PUGH buildings are completed upon the original plan, and it receives a reasonable support I have not the slightest doubt that it could be made the best Agricultural Institution in the world... “Indeed, the entire character of our institutions; the fundamental ideas of our people in regard to the dignity of labor; our general mixing and intermingling of all classes of society, and the growing intelligence of our people, together with the fact, that this is the greatest agricultural community on the face of the earth – all enable us to build up the best Agricultural Schools in the world, and we must do it! “We must do it in Pennsylvania! and I think, gentlemen, that we will do it.”
  3. 3. GEORGE GILBERT POND Professor of Chemistry, 1888 – 1920 Dean of the School of Natural Sciences, 1896 - 1920
  4. 4. “What do we teachers in the Department of Chemistry live for? Why can they always be GEORGE GILBERT found at their respective posts, putting in more hours per day, every one of them, than is often POND expected of any man in an industrial position? Why does the gas so often burn in the laboratory till after midnight to make possible the necessary recording of the day’s work, or the material preparation for the students who will come in on the morrow? “Is it for pay? Consult the salary roll! “Is it for selfish glorification or the attainment of personal ambitions? “No, if you mean the narrow individual satisfaction to be found in salaried promotions or other forms of personal success. Yes, if you mean the broader view, which pierces the veil of the future, and sees successful men once students at State, who, however much they may chafe under college regulations now, will bye and bye turn about and thank us from the bottom of their hearts, for the personal interest which was taken in them at College.”
  5. 5. FRANK WHITMORE Dean of the College of Chemistry and Physics and Professor of Chemistry, 1929 - 1947
  6. 6. FRANK WHITMORE “You must remember there is a war on and consequently the only important thing is your work. I trust you are adapting a program which many of the men are following here at State 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “This runs as follows: Sleep – 8 hours Meals and walking to and from meals and classes – 4 hours Work – good honest work, not just sitting in front of a book – 12 hours Recreation – none Exercise – see above.”
  7. 7. MARY WILLARD Instructor and Professor of Chemistry, 1922 - 1964
  8. 8. “Chemistry is and always has been a man’s MARY WILLARD field.... “Yet aren’t there three women behind every man in science; his wife, who tries to get him to the laboratory properly fed, clothed, and in an amiable frame of mind at a reasonable hour in the morning; his secretary, who translates his ‘hieroglyphics; and edits his scientific papers so that they will be acceptable for reports and publications; and finally his laboratory assistant, his girl Friday, who washed the glassware and cleans up after the great experiment, sympathizes with him on those experiments that don’t come right and rejoices with him on those that do.”
  9. 9. Available in the Penn State Bookstore Hetzel Union Building