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In Memoriam
Carl von Frankenberg

April 14, 2004--The following tribute was presented by John L. Burmeister, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, at the General Faculty Meeting on April 12.

Prof. Carl von Frankenberg was born in Gera, Germany, on Nov. 22, 1932. He was educated in Puerto Rico and at the Mount Herman School in East Northfield, Mass.

Dr. von Frankenberg began his chemical studies at Swarthmore College in 1950. However, they were interrupted by the Korean War, during which (1951-53) he served with the U.S. Navy. He then returned to Swarthmore and graduated with honors with a B.A. in chemistry in 1956. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. Following a year spent as an NSF postdoctoral fellow at Cornell, he joined our UD faculty in 1961 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1969.

Dr. von Frankenberg’s research studies involved the mathematical modeling of polymer structures. Measured by today’s standards, which frequently involve megagrants and research groups the size of a small business, his research output was modest: eight Ph.D.s mentored, nine papers published. However, the average achievement level of these eight doctorates compares favorably with that of any of our research groups, past or present. Three of his students rose to positions of considerable prominence at DuPont, including the manager of corporate analytical sciences. Two have had comparable careers at Armstrong, another at Exxon. Two are now professors of chemical engineering at Texas A&M and Rutgers. The former is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Unquestionably, however, teaching was both Dr. von Frankenberg’s passion and forte, especially in the area of general chemistry. By his estimate, he taught more than 20,000 students. At UD, he produced more student credit hours for the University’s coffers than any other member of our faculty in our chemistry and biochemistry department’s history. He was the heart, body and soul of Chemistry 103/104 for 25 years, teaching two large sections of CHEM-103 every fall, two large sections of CHEM-104 every spring, a section of CHEM-104 every Winter Session, and sections of CHEM-103 and 104 for most of the Summer Sessions during the entire period. For several years preceding his retirement in 1997, he shifted his Summer Session involvement to teaching CHEM-103 in our Summer College--a special program for gifted high school students. Not surprisingly, he received the University’s Excellence-in-Teaching Award in 1978. He was a key member of the University’s Health Sciences Advisory and Evaluation Committee for over a decade.

Dr. von Frankenberg died peacefully to the strains of his beloved Bach B-minor Mass on March 1, 2004. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Elizabeth Murphy von Frankenberg, two daughters, Kathryn Maneval and Audrey Brown, seven grandchildren and his mother, Virginia, now 98.

On a more personal note, I shall always remember him as the personification of the Ideal Colleague: totally organized, incredibly knowledgeable, forever upbeat, eternally patient and always smiling. He may have taught thousands of students, but he was always concerned for their welfare on an individual basis. Thanks to his tutelage, I was finally able to part the veil of mystery surrounding chemical thermodynamics.

Rest in peace, Prof. von Frankenbergerbits!

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March 3, 2004--Carl A. von Frankenberg, associate professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Delaware, died March 1, at Christiana Hospital.

Born in Gera, Germany, he was educated in Puerto Rico and at the Mount Hermon School in East Northfield, Mass. He served with the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, 1951-53.

Dr. von Frankenberg was graduated with honors from Swarthmore College in 1956 and received his doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After a year as a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University, he joined the faculty at the University of Delaware.

His area of research involved mathematical modeling of polymer structures.

By his estimate, Dr. von Frankenberg taught general chemistry to more than 20,000 undergraduates. He also mentored eight chemistry graduate students, all of whom went on to contribute significantly to their fields.

He received the University's Excellence-in-Teaching Award in 1978.

Dr. von Frankenberg was a member of the University's Health Sciences Advisory Committee and of the American Chemical Society, serving as treasurer of the local chapter.

A memorial service followed by a reception and interment will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 6, at St. Thomas's Episcopal Church, 276 South College Ave., Newark.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in Dr. von Frankenberg’s name to Northfield-Mount Herman School, 206 Main St., Northfield, MA 01360-1089; Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081; or the Elizabeth Dyer Excellence in Teaching Award Fund at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717.