Memorial tributes honor three faculty at meeting
Vol. 17, No. 27April 16, 1998

Memorial tributes honor three faculty at meeting

Memorial tributes to three faculty members were presented by their colleagues at Monday's semiannual faculty meeting.

Roland Roth of the Department of Entomology and Ecology recalled that sap beetles [Delaware Nitidulidae] were the favorite research subject of Walter A. Connell, research professor emeritus who died on Feb. 18 in Bloomington, Ind., at the age of 88. Connell, who retired from the University in 1976, published at least 15 papers on this family of small beetles, and his work on the systematics of the nititulid resulted in his nomination to the Royal Entomological Society of London.

After joining the University in 1946, Connell added perhaps 2,000 insect specimens to the department's reference collection, Roth said, and he was remembered for his four-hour lab on systematics held on Saturday morning. Roth noted that Connell's other research and publications reflect the "myriad demands placed on a small department charged with solving agricultural and public nuisance problems caused by the most species-diverse animals on Earth." After his retirement, he worked on his favorite sap beetles in a small storeroom at the USDA Beneficial Insects lab on campus for two more decades.

Described as "low-key, soft-spoken, helpful, full of knowledge and a gentleman," Connell was remembered for his "rich, dry humor," Roth said. His son John, a 1969 Delaware graduate in entomology, is now a Ph.D. entomologist.

Ralph Ellis Kleinman, Unidel Professor of Mathematics, who died Feb. 19, was described by his colleague Tom Angell as "that rare individual, the teacher-scholar."

"The experience of his intellect benefitted not only pre-baccalaureate students, post-graduates and departmental colleagues, but as well, students of other disciplines," Angell said. "He was a 'bridge-builder,' eager to discuss engineering problems with physicists, problems of physics with mathematicians and mathmatical ideas with engineers."

Kleinman held a doctorate in mathematics from the Technische Hogeschool, Delft, and he spent a number of years working with the group that later became the Radiation Laboratory at the University of Michigan. Joining the University in 1968, he founded the Center for the Mathematics of Waves, which served as a meeting ground for visiting scholars from Europe, Asia and South America.

The creation of the University Faculty Senate and the establishment of the AAUP as a faculty union were due in a great part to Kleinman, Angell said, because the late mathematician recognized the importance of creating crucial bonds between trustees, administration and faculty.

Paraphrasing the French philosopher-mathematician Rene Descartes, Angell said, "Ralph Kleinman had a great mind, and he used it well."

John Burmeister, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, recalled how his colleague Joseph H. Noggle demonstrated a passion for three subjects-opera, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and computers. At the time of his unexpected death on March 13, Noggle "was looking forward to teaching an evening class on the Wagner Ring Cycle at the University's Academy of Lifelong Learning," Burmeister said.

Noggle, who held a master's degree and a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, first taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, before coming to Delaware in 1971. He authored or co-authored a total of 35 research articles, all of which dealt with some aspect of NMR, and wrote the definitive treatice on The Nuclear Overhauser Effect: Chemical Applications.

According to Burmeister, Noggle's love of computers led him to create amd teach the course "Computers in Chemistry," and six of his nine books dealt with applications of computer hardware and software to the teaching of physical chemistry. "He served, not surprisingly, as our department's first and only webmaster," Burmeister said.

"Joe's crowning achievement, however, was Physical Chemistry, now in its third edition," Burmeister said, noting that it has become the second most-used textbook in the country.

Recognizing Noggle's quick wit and dry sense of humor, Burmeister recalled his e-mail by-line, which quoted humorist Dave Barry: "Megahertz: a really big Hertz."

-Cornelia Weil