Challenging Times

It was a challenging decade for higher education in the United States. During the 1970s, powerful economic, demographic, and political forces dramatically affected most of the nation’s colleges and universities. The Vietnam War continued until 1973, and in its wake the nation faced a huge war-related national debt, recession, and runaway inflation. Compounding the economic problems for all segments of the nation, colleges and universities also grappled with a decline in the number of traditional undergraduate students as the last cohort of children born immediately after World War II moved through the nation’s schools. Institutions of higher education were caught in a cycle of rising prices, national recession, and declining enrollment, and the University of San Francisco, including its sciences programs, was hard-hit by these external forces.

 The University of San Francisco as it appeared in 1969. This photo depicts the entire campus and much of the city of San Francisco looking east to Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay. The tree-filled eastern slope of Lone Mountain (not purchased by USF until 1978) can be seen on the extreme left of this photo. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

The University of San Francisco as it appeared in 1969. This photo depicts the entire campus and much of the city of San Francisco looking east to Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay. The tree-filled eastern slope of Lone Mountain (not purchased by USF until 1978) can be seen on the extreme left of this photo. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

USF’s financial situation was the major issue facing the institution during the 1970s. From the fall of 1970 to the fall of 1976, total USF student enrollment declined almost 15 percent, from 6,830 to 5,818 students. The university’s undergraduate science programs witnessed a modest two percent decline during this period, slipping from 655 to 641 students. Albert Jonsen, S. J., who served as USF’s president from 1969 to 1972, and William McInnes, S.J., who was president from 1972 to 1976, sought to address the mounting financial crisis and enrollment drop at USF. During the 1975–1976 fiscal year, USF faced a deficit of $491,000, with a $2.5 million cumulative debt. In the face of these challenges, Fr. McInnes instituted major budget cuts, wage freezes, and a large tuition increase. He also began the process of reducing the number of staff and faculty. The faculty at USF voted to unionize after initial negotiations with faculty representatives failed, and in 1975, the USF faculty association was born. Faculty unions were also being established at many of the nation’s other colleges and universities that were facing similar economic problems and potential layoffs. At USF, the faculty and staff cuts proposed by Fr. McInnes created major turmoil within the university. In October 1976, at the request of the USF Board of Trustees, Fr. McInnes resigned from the presidency, and he was replaced the next year by John Lo Schiavo, S.J., who began a 14-year tenure as president of USF. By the fall of 1979, two years into Fr. Lo Schiavo’s presidency, overall student enrollment had increased to 6,339, a 9 percent gain from the fall of 1976, although the undergraduate science enrollment during this period remained flat, standing at 637 students in the fall of 1979.

This 1971 photo shows the Harney Science Center (the center building with the large plaza, also named Harney, directly in front of it). To the right of Harney Plaza is University Center, completed in 1965. Classrooms, science laboratories, and the administrative offices of the College of Arts and Sciences were located in the Harney Science Center, completed in 1966. The building commemorated the generosity of the late Pauline and Charles Harney to USF and their lifelong friendship with its Jesuit community. Mr. Harney was a regent of USF and was responsible for many campus improvements. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

This 1971 photo shows the Harney Science Center (the center building with the large plaza, also named Harney, directly in front of it). To the right of Harney Plaza is University Center, completed in 1965. Classrooms, science laboratories, and the administrative offices of the College of Arts and Sciences were located in the Harney Science Center, completed in 1966. The building commemorated the generosity of the late Pauline and Charles Harney to USF and their lifelong friendship with its Jesuit community. Mr. Harney was a regent of USF and was responsible for many campus improvements. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Despite budget limitations, changes in the leadership of the university, and a modest decline in student enrollment, the science programs at USF continued to offer outstanding educational opportunities to students in the 1970s, made possible by stellar faculty. Many of the world-renowned faculty members from the immediate post-WWII era were still teaching at USF in 1970, including Francis Filice and Edward Kessel in biology; Mel Gorman, William Maroney, and Arthur Furst in Chemistry; and Karl Waider in physics (see vignette #21). During the late 1950s and 1960s, a number of new faculty members joined their ranks and established themselves as outstanding teachers and scholars during the 1970s and beyond. They included Robert Schooley and Lucy Treagan in biology; Robert Seiwald and Thomas Gruhn in chemistry; Eugene Benton, Clifton Albergotti, Phillip Applebaum, and Raymond Genolio in physics; Allan Cruse and Millianne Lehmann in mathematics; and James Haag in the new department of computer science (see vignette #24). The 1970s also witnessed the addition of several new science faculty members, who developed stellar careers as teachers, researchers, and role models in providing service to their university and to the community.

Michael Kudlick came to USF in 1974, having previously earned his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served in the Navy, and worked in the private sector at Shell Development and at the Augmentation Research Center at SRI International. At SRI, Kudlick’s group contributed to the invention of the computer mouse and to the development of computer networking for the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, known as ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. At USF, Kudlick rose quickly through the academic ranks to gain tenure and become a full professor of computer science, receiving USF’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981. As chair of the department of computer science, he led his department through major curriculum changes for both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs. He organized several university-wide events related to computer science and served as the faculty advisor to USF’s chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. Kudlick retired in 1997 as an emeritus professor of computer science. “Dr. Kudlick taught me how to think logically, to observe, and ask the right questions,” explained Alfred Chuang, class of 1982, founder and president of BEA Systems. Chuang credited Professor Kudlick with helping to prepare him for a career in computer science. In 2001, Chuang donated $2.5 million to USF to fund the construction of a state-of-the-art computer classroom named for Kudlick. “He showed me that the key to the creative process is melding one’s curiosity with an intense drive. He impressed upon me that there are never any short cuts to achievement. I’ve lived by these principles, and I am grateful that Dr. Kudick first modeled them for me.” The Michael Kudlick Computer Science Classroom serves as a lasting memorial to a superb USF professor who died in 2008.

Michael Kudlick, who joined the USF faculty in 1974, taught in the computer science department for 23 years, during which time he chaired the department and won the Distinguished Teaching Award. His legacy survives in a state-of-the art computer classroom named in his honor, funded by a major gift from his former student Alfred Chuang, who was inspired by Professor Kudlick’s teaching and mentoring. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Michael Kudlick, who joined the USF faculty in 1974, taught in the computer science department for 23 years, during which time he chaired the department and won the Distinguished Teaching Award. His legacy survives in a state-of-the art computer classroom named in his honor, funded by a major gift from his former student Alfred Chuang, who was inspired by Professor Kudlick’s teaching and mentoring. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Gary Stevens began his USF career in the biology department in 1970. When Stevens became department chair in 1972, he formed a committee of faculty members and administrators from various departments to advise students who hoped to attend medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry, or veterinarian schools after graduation. During the next several years, the pool of pre-professional students became increasingly diverse, including an ever-greater number of women and minorities. The committee, known as the Pre-Professional Health Committee (PPHC), created a file for each pre-professional student, collected transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation for those files, recommended that students obtain volunteer or job opportunities in health-related fields, wrote a “composite” committee letter of recommendation to professional schools for each qualified student; conducted mock interviews with students to prepare them for their professional school interviews, suggested specific professional schools based on student interests and abilities, and sponsored special events for pre-professional students, including award dinners and mentor nights with USF alumni who had become successful healthcare professionals. Although some organizations at USF, such as the Bio-Chem Club, had functioned from 1923 through the 1950s to promote opportunities for pre-medical students, the PPHC did everything possible to systematically increase the likelihood of student success in gaining admittance to a wide range of health-related professional schools. Professor Stevens stepped down as the PPHC chair in 1995, though he remains an active member of the committee. Alan Ziajka, assistant dean for academic services, chaired the committee from 1995 to 2000, followed by Mary Jane Niles, professor of biology, who currently provides stellar service as the PPHC chair. For decades, the University of San Francisco has significantly outperformed the national average in the number of its undergraduates who are accepted to highly competitive and selective medical and other professional schools. From 2001 to 2013, for example, 65.6 percent of USF students who went through the USF Pre-Professional Health Committee gained admittance to medical schools, whereas nationally, the acceptance rate during this period was only 45.0 percent.

Gary Stevens, who began teaching biology at USF in 1970, is shown here explaining the major structures of the brain to high school students at a USF science open house in October 1991. The event drew 245 students to the campus from 30 Bay Area high schools. Among his many achievements, Professor Stevens began the Pre-Professional Health Committee at USF, which to this day continues to help USF students gain entrance to medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry, and other professional schools. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Gary Stevens, who began teaching biology at USF in 1970, is shown here explaining the major structures of the brain to high school students at a USF science open house in October 1991. The event drew 245 students to the campus from 30 Bay Area high schools. Among his many achievements, Professor Stevens began the Pre-Professional Health Committee at USF, which to this day continues to help USF students gain entrance to medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry, and other professional schools. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Biology professor Paul Chien, born in Hong Kong, began his career at USF in 1973, after earning his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, and obtaining a postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech. He has authored 15 peer-reviewed articles to date on the physiology and ecology of intertidal organisms, the transport of amino acids and metal ions across cell membranes, invertebrate physiology, and toxicology, among other subjects. He has also given many international presentations, including in mainland China, where he has been involved in cooperative research projects, He twice served as biology department chair at USF, and he is well known for taking his students on field trips to nearby marine habitats in San Francisco and Mono Lake in the Sierras, as well as for leading student groups to China.

 

Paul Chien began teaching biology at USF in 1973, has published numerous scholarly articles, twice chaired the biology department, and is known for his student-centered approach to teaching, which frequently involves field trips to marine habitats. He is pictured here with USF students in 1997. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Paul Chien began teaching biology at USF in 1973, has published numerous scholarly articles, twice chaired the biology department, and is known for his student-centered approach to teaching, which frequently involves field trips to marine habitats. He is pictured here with USF students in 1997. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

John Cobley, a native of England, is a professor of chemistry at USF, where he began teaching in 1977 after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Bristol and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco, and at the University of Dundee, Scotland. His fields of interest include the integration of ideas across disciplines in the natural sciences and biochemistry. He has published more than 15 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and he is currently working with some of his undergraduate students on a project concerning the molecular genetics of chromatic adaptation in the Cyanobacterium, Fremyelia diplosiphon. During the course of his career, John Cobley has directed the research of 27 graduate students working on their M.S. degrees in chemistry. To support his students’ work, Cobley has obtained numerous grants, including two grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Many of his undergraduate students were directly involved in his laboratory work and presented their findings at research conferences. In 1994, Professor Cobley won the university’s Distinguished Research Award, and in 2000, he was appointed a Visiting Professor at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris

John Cobley is a professor of chemistry at USF, where he began teaching in 1977. His interests include biochemistry, molecular genetics, and the integration of ideas across disciplines in the natural sciences. In 1994, he won the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

John Cobley is a professor of chemistry at USF, where he began teaching in 1977. His interests include biochemistry, molecular genetics, and the integration of ideas across disciplines in the natural sciences. In 1994, he won the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Kim Summerhays is currently professor of chemistry and computer science at USF, having started his teaching career at USF in 1973. Summerhays received his bachelor’s degree from USF, his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of California, Irvine. His academic interests include physical chemistry, software engineering, and the history of natural science. His research interests focus on measurement uncertainty, error propagation, and industrial automation. In 2011, he co-authored a paper titled “Applications of Computer Simulation in Coordinate Measuring Uncertainty Evaluation” in the International Journal of Metrology.

Kim Summerhays began his teaching career at USF in 1973, and he is currently a professor of chemistry and computer science. His academic and research interests include physical chemistry, software engineering, the history of natural science, measurement uncertainty, error propagation, and industrial automation. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Kim Summerhays began his teaching career at USF in 1973, and he is currently a professor of chemistry and computer science. His academic and research interests include physical chemistry, software engineering, the history of natural science, measurement uncertainty, error propagation, and industrial automation. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Other science faculty members who began their careers at USF during the 1970s and had a lasting impact on the university include R. James Brown, Carol Chihara, Thomas Zavortink, Patricia Schulz, William Jordan, and Theodore Jones. R. James Brown, who started teaching at USF in 1970, won the Distinguished Research Award in 1986 and the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991. Both awards are given by the USF Faculty Association and the University of San Francisco, and Professor Brown is one of only a handful of USF faculty members to have received both awards; each award is granted to only one faculty member per year. Professor Brown also directed the Institute of Chemical Biology after its founder, Arthur Furst, retired, and he developed the environmental sciences program into a separate department. Brown expanded the environmental management graduate program (founded by Joseph Petulla in the early 1980s in the College of Professional Studies) into Europe, China, and the Philippines, after the program was transferred to the College of Arts and Sciences in 1987. Carol Chihara taught molecular biology and genetics at USF from 1975 to 2001, when she retired as professor emerita of biology. In addition to publishing numerous research papers on topics such as protein expression in Drosophila larvae, she obtained several National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, and she established the first molecular biology lab under a grant from the Fletcher Jones Foundation. At USF, the Carol Chihara Award is given each fall and spring to three or four undergraduate biology majors who personify academic excellence. Thomas Zavortink taught biology at USF from 1975 to 2001, when he retired as professor emeritus of biology. While at USF, he maintained his reputation as an international authority on mosquitoes, published scores of articles on this specialty and other entomological topics as well, and edited the journal Mosquito Systematics. In 1984, he received the International John N. Belkin Award for furthering mosquito systematics. In 1991, Professor Zavortink was selected for the university’s Distinguished Research Award. Patricia Schulz taught biology at USF from 1978 to 2012, when she retired as professor emerita of biology. Professor Schulz, a specialist in the embryology of flowering plants, conducted research aimed at increasing wheat yields, enabling the grain to grow in areas where it previously could not. Her research, using the techniques of electron microscopy and cytochemistry, focused on the effect of special chemical compounds on wheat pollen formation. In 2003, Professor Schulz won the prestigious USF Sarlo Prize, which recognizes excellence in teaching and research premised on the moral values of the university’s Vision, Mission, and Values Statement. William Jordan began his teaching career at USF in 1973 and retired as professor of biology and environmental science emeritus in 2001. He served for a period as the associate dean of sciences and was one of the founding faculty members of the environmental sciences program at USF. Theodore Jones taught biochemistry at USF for 35 years, starting in 1970, and published on topics such as the membrane protein component of the lactose transport system of Escherichia coli. Jones retired in 2005 as professor emeritus of chemistry.

In 1977, the biology department received a CAUSE (Comprehensive Aid to Undergraduate Science Education) grant from the National Science Foundation, which provided for improvement in the department’s equipment and facilities and enabled the faculty, with the assistance of an outside evaluating firm (Nomos Institute), to conduct an intensive study of the biology curriculum. This study resulted in several major changes, including the introduction of a broader range of specialized courses into the curriculum at the upper-division level.

In the late 1970s, the mathematics department also revised its formerly highly structured course sequence to allow students to take more elective courses at the upper-division level. In addition, the 1970s witnessed the inclusion of human and ethical perspectives in almost all science courses, as well as the development of a larger range of interdisciplinary programs. In a 1980 self-study in preparation for an accreditation visit to the university by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the USF science programs were described as follows:

The primary strength of the science programs is a faculty dedicated to teaching and committed to scholarship. At least six textbooks and twenty lab manuals have been produced by this faculty in the last five years, and more than 115 articles have been published in the educational and research journals of the sciences in this same period. The high overall quality of facilities in Harney Science Center also provides vital support for the academic programs. Equipment available to the various departments has for the most part been adequate to sustain laboratory teaching at a sound level. 

During the 1970s, the sciences faculty at USF also continued the Jesuit tradition of service to the community. The self-study prepared for WASC in 1980 underscored that commitment:

The College of Science offers service to the public, especially on matters which contribute to good health and the quality of the environment. Virtually every faculty member has, either individually or jointly, contributed his or her services as expertise, interest, and need dictate. While most of the service activities are local or regional in nature, some are international in scope…. Subjective analysis suggests that Science faculty are very successful in providing a variety of valuable services to the public. Those service offered are consistent with and supportive of the University’s Mission and Goals Statement. The College of Science has a tradition of long-standing commitment to such service activities as: work experience and internship programs, La Raza, federally sponsored Head Start programs, science fairs for pre-college students, and special programs for high school science students.

From the beginning of the science programs at St. Ignatius College in 1863, through the 1970s, and up to and including our own time, the institution’s science faculty members have used their scientific knowledge to make their community and world a better place.

Alan Ziajka, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and University Historian
415/422-2846
ziajka@usfca.edu

Outer Space, Computers, and Chemical Biology

 

Launched on October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite revolutionized science, education, and computer technology throughout the world, and it had an immediate impact on political developments in the United States. NASA

Launched on October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite revolutionized science, education, and computer technology throughout the world, and it had an immediate impact on political developments in the United States. NASA

 

The chirps came from outer space and were detected by radio station receivers and other devices around the world. The noise, in the key of A minor, lasted three-tenths of a second; this was followed by a pause of equal length, and then by another three-tenths of a second of chirping. The strange sound pattern was repeated continuously throughout the night of October 4, 1957, and for several weeks thereafter. It came from a transmitter aboard a Soviet satellite, soon known to the world as Sputnik. It was possible to see Sputnik with the naked eye as it raced across the sky at 18,000 miles per hour in the early morning and late evening, when the sun was still close enough to the horizon to illuminate the satellite. It was about the size of a beach ball, silver in color, and weighed 184 pounds. A month later, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik II, a satellite with a much heavier payload that carried a dog named Laika, who became the first casualty of the space program when Sputnik II overheated and failed to detach from its booster. 

The launch of Sputnik had an enormous impact on the political, scientific, and educational history of the United States and Continue reading

Centennial

In October 1955, the University of San Francisco, the oldest institution of higher education in the city, celebrated a special birthday: one century had passed since the institution’s founding. St. Ignatius Academy, the antecedent of USF, first opened its doors on Market Street on October 15, 1855, though the first science courses (in chemistry) were not offered until 1863 at the renamed St. Ignatius College. In the fall of 1954, John Connolly, S.J., the newly appointed president of USF, had established an advisory committee to plan a series of celebratory events to be held in October 1955. Other regularly scheduled and special university events during 1955 and 1956 were adapted to the centennial celebration.

The University of San Francisco as it appeared in early 1955, the year of its centennial celebration. St. Ignatius Church, completed in 1914, is in the lower left of the photo, and to its right is Welch Hall (the Jesuit residence), built in 1921 and torn down in 1970. To the right of Welch Hall is the Liberal Arts Building, built in 1927, and later renamed Campion Hall and then Kalmanovitz Hall. In 1955, the Liberal Arts Building housed all of USF’s academic programs except for the School of Law, which was on the third floor of Gleeson Library, completed in 1950, and just north of Welch Hall. Some classes were held in barracks left over from World War II, as seen in the upper right of this photo. Phelan Hall, under construction in 1955, is outside of this image to the right. The Harney Science Center was not built until 1965, on the site of the parking lot to the right of Gleeson Library. The rest of the campus as we know it today was still in the planning or dreaming stage. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

The University of San Francisco as it appeared in early 1955, the year of its centennial celebration. St. Ignatius Church, completed in 1914, is in the lower left of the photo, and to its right is Welch Hall (the Jesuit residence), built in 1921 and torn down in 1970. To the right of Welch Hall is the Liberal Arts Building, built in 1927, and later renamed Campion Hall and then Kalmanovitz Hall. In 1955, the Liberal Arts Building housed all of USF’s academic programs except for the School of Law, which was on the third floor of Gleeson Library, completed in 1950, and just north of Welch Hall. Some classes were held in barracks left over from World War II, as seen in the upper right of this photo. Phelan Hall, under construction in 1955, is outside of this image to the right. The Harney Science Center was not built until 1965, on the site of the parking lot to the right of Gleeson Library. The rest of the campus as we know it today was still in the planning or dreaming stage. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

 

The anniversary year celebrations began with a centennial graduation on Sunday, June 11, 1955, at which 313 students received their degrees. The graduation exercises were held in the War Memorial Opera House on Van Ness Avenue. On October 10, 1955, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution honoring USF’s centennial milestone and noting that the institution had “spread the fame of San Francisco throughout the world by the activities of its students and graduates in the fields of sports, law, medicine, military science, and religion.” The local press also highlighted the USF centennial celebration. The San Francisco Chronicle published a Continue reading

New Directions, New Students

It must have been with a mixture of excitement and some anxiety that the first small group of female nursing students in the history of the University of San Francisco departed from St. Mary’s Hospital on the corner of Fulton and Shrader Streets, passed by St. Ignatius Church, and entered through the doors of the Liberal Arts Building on the USF campus to begin their science classes. Arriving on campus, these female nursing students were greeted by battalions of male students, many of them veterans of World War II funded by the G.I. Bill of Rights. It was the fall of 1948, and nursing students had begun taking science and liberal arts courses at USF after William Dunne, S.J., president of the university, approved a partnership with St. Mary’s Hospital to offer a nursing education program within a newly created Department of Nursing, housed in the College of Science.

When the USF nursing program was established in the College of Science in 1948, starched blouses, pinafores, and caps were required of nursing students, such as USF nursing student Sandy Mooring, pictured here. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES]

When the USF nursing program was established in the College of Science in 1948, starched blouses, pinafores, and caps were required of nursing students, such as USF nursing student Sandy Mooring, pictured here. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

The aim of the USF nursing curriculum in 1948, according to the USF catalog, was “to provide the necessary academic credit which, coupled with a three-year basic curriculum in Nursing in an accredited hospital, permits a student to obtain the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The degree is intended to furnish an academic background for Continue reading

The Postwar Science Faculty

The flat-footed common fly may not appear to most people to be the most exciting creature in the universe, but for University of San Francisco biology professor Edward Kessel, the insect was at the core of his research and captured the imaginations of his post-World War II science students and professional colleagues. By 1950, Kessel was the world’s leading expert on that species of fly (known scientifically as Platypezidae). Kessel’s interest in biology was sparked by the years he spent in subtropical Africa as the child of missionary parents. He captured birds in his parent’s mulberry orchard and frogs in a nearby swamp, kept a baby monkey as a pet, dug out three-inch-long queen termites and cooked them for dinner, and witnessed cobra-like snakes called black mambas invade the family farm and kill oxen with a single bite. At age ten, he won first prize in a South African contest for his cultivation of silkworms. In 1925, he received his bachelor’s in agriculture from the University of California, Berkeley, after publishing his first entomological article, “Silk Culture in California.” He later received his master of science and his doctorate in entomology from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation was titled “The Embryology of Fleas,” and it was later published by the Smithsonian Institute.  Kessel began his career at USF in 1930 and retired in 1974 after 44 years of teaching and research. In 1955, he received a special USF faculty silver jubilarian award for his 25 years of distinguished “classroom teaching, scholarship, research and publication.”  During his career, he was the author of approximately 100 scientific publications and edited USF’s Wasmann Journal of Biology and the Proceedings of the California Academy of Science. For more than 30 years, he was associated with the California Academy of Sciences, where he edited more than 370 technical papers and served as associate curator of insects. During the course of his career, he contributed 23,167 insect specimens to the Academy, including 78 new species, 15 new genera, and two new subfamilies. With grants from the National Science Foundation, Kessel studied the flat-footed common fly in every state of the union except for Hawaii (where the species did not exist), and throughout Canada. Kessel was also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and president of the Pacific Coast Academy of Sciences. His legacy continues at USF, which annually bestows the Edward L. Kessel Award on an undergraduate student with high potential for a professional career in the biological sciences.

 

Edward Kessel was a professor of biology at USF from 1930 to 1974. In addition to his award-winning teaching, he published some 100 scientific papers, edited hundreds of technical papers, served as associate curator of insects at the California Academy of Sciences, and became the world’s leading expert on the flat-footed common fly. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Edward Kessel was a professor of biology at USF from 1930 to 1974. In addition to his award-winning teaching, he published some 100 scientific papers, edited hundreds of technical papers, served as associate curator of insects at the California Academy of Sciences, and became the world’s leading expert on the flat-footed common fly. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

In the realm of physiological chemistry, few books of any era surpassed the impact of Harold Harper’s Physiological Chemistry (later Harper’s Biochemistry). In the late 1950s, his book went Continue reading

The War Ends

The Jesuit priest heard the warning sirens as a single bomber flew over the city, followed by an enormous explosion that shook the earth under him. He felt the concussion that blew in the doors, windows, and walls of his house. Staggering outside, he saw the city erupting in a ball of fire. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., originally from the Basque region of Spain, was living and doing missionary work on the outskirts of Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, when in a blinding flash of death, destruction, and horror, an atomic bomb was dropped on the city by a United States B-29 bomber. The bomb initially killed 100,000 people and reduced the city to smoldering rubble. Almost 100,000 more later died from burns and radiation. A medical doctor by training, Fr. Arrupe helped as many of the victims of the atomic bomb as he could in the aftermath of the August 6 horror, saving approximately 150 lives. Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, with equally destructive results, and the loss of an additional 75,000 lives outright. Burns and radiation later caused 75,000 more deaths among the people of Nagasaki. On August 16, the Japanese surrendered, and World War II was over.

Fr. Arrupe was working as a missionary in Japan when World War II broke out. At the outset of the war he was arrested and briefly imprisoned. After his release, he moved to Hiroshima to continue his missionary work. Once the war ended, Fr. Arrupe served as Superior of the Jesuits’ Japanese Province, and in 1965, he was elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus. In 1966, he became the first Jesuit Superior General to visit the United States. In April of that year, Fr. Arrupe came to San Francisco and the University of San Francisco. He was hosted at a USF alumni banquet at the Hilton Hotel, where he was welcomed by Edmund G. Brown, governor of California, and John Shelley, mayor of San Francisco and a 1932 graduate of the USF School of Law. At the banquet, Brown, Shelley, and the other dinner guests heard Fr. Arrupe say, “Your Jesuit system of education has always defended the rights of intelligence and of reason…. You must make a part of your life a deep and abiding love of the world.” Today a statue of Fr. Arrupe stands on the USF campus, in front of the University Ministry and about 100 yards from the new John Lo Schiavo, S.J. Center for Science and Innovation.

Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, visited San Francisco in April 1966, where he was honored at a USF alumni banquet hosted by Edmund G. Brown, governor of California, and John Shelley, mayor of San Francisco and a graduate of the USF School of Law. USF JESUIT COMMUNITY ARCHIVES

Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, visited San Francisco in April 1966, where he was honored at a USF alumni banquet hosted by Edmund G. Brown, governor of California, and John Shelley, mayor of San Francisco and a graduate of the USF School of Law. USF JESUIT COMMUNITY ARCHIVES

By September 1945, thousands of men were processed out of the armed services in San Francisco and throughout the United States. In many cases, they returned to cities and Continue reading

Going to War

On the morning of September 1, 1939, the Polish cavalry, their raised sabers glistening in the sunlight, rode out to meet the invading German tanks in one of the most uneven displays of scientific technology in the history of warfare. The rapid defeat of the Polish cavalry and other antiquated Polish forces marked the beginning of World War II in Europe. The United States watched for more than two years as the Nazis overran Western Europe, attacked Great Britain and the Soviet Union, and conquered parts of North Africa. During the same period, Japan extended its conquest of Asia, including China and much of Southeast Asia. American isolation from the war ended on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt gave his famous “Day of Infamy” speech before Congress, which then declared war on Japan. On December 11, 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, and World War II became a global conflict. In San Francisco, thousands of people flocked to Ocean Beach immediately after news arrived of the attack on Pearl Harbor and stared out to the horizon, looking for Japanese ships and planes in anticipation of what many believed would be the imminent invasion of California. For the first time in history, a blackout was called for in the city, with all lights to be turned off by 6:15 p.m. On the campus of the University of San Francisco, St. Ignatius Church canceled the evening services that had been scheduled for Monday, December 8, and the illumination of the church towers was discontinued for the war’s duration. During the war, however, St. Ignatius Church, with its tall spires, remained on all of the maritime maps to help naval captains guide their ships into San Francisco Bay. For servicemen shipping out to fight in the Pacific, those spires were the last objects seen after leaving the Golden Gate, and the first objects seen when coming home to San Francisco.

In this 1942 photo, an ROTC student is seated in a cemetery monument on the USF campus. The monument was removed by the end of World War II. In the background is St. Ignatius Church, completed in 1914. During World War II, the church was a navigation point for naval vessels entering the San Francisco Bay, and a beacon of hope for many servicemen aboard ships bound for war in the Pacific. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

In this 1942 photo, an ROTC student is seated in a cemetery monument on the USF campus. The monument was removed by the end of World War II. In the background is St. Ignatius Church, completed in 1914. During World War II, the church was a navigation point for naval vessels entering the San Francisco Bay, and a beacon of hope for many servicemen aboard ships bound for war in the Pacific. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

On the eve of the nation’s entrance into World War II, the University of San Francisco made a significant organizational change. A separate Continue reading

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The Chemistry Professor

The young man was a brilliant chemistry student. He was so talented that his university’s Chemistry Department hired him immediately after he received his bachelor’s degree to teach the same courses he had just completed as a student. He eventually went on to get his doctorate in chemistry, but in 1931, the year he received his bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of San Francisco, Charles “Mel” Gorman began a 46-year teaching career at his alma mater. Gorman was born in San Francisco in 1910, attended public elementary schools, and graduated from St. Ignatius High School before pursuing his undergraduate education at USF. He earned a master’s in science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1939, and a doctorate in chemistry from Stanford University in 1946. His dissertation title was “Thermodynamic Properties of Tin Compounds in Aqueous Solution.” While working on his graduate degrees, Gorman taught chemistry at USF, moving through the ranks to become an associate professor in 1946 and a full professor five years later. In 1937, he helped develop a master’s degree program in chemistry, one of USF’s first three master’s programs (the others were in biology and history), and he taught in that graduate program.

In addition to stellar teaching and research, Professor Gorman was active in professional organizations. In 1950, he gave a presentation, “Isotopes in the Chemistry Curriculum,” to the educational group of the American Chemical Society; in 1951, he was named by the Western College Association to represent the association’s committee on college accreditation; and in 1968, he was elected chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of History of Chemistry. He was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the History of Science Society, and several other professional organizations. Gorman published more than 100 articles in scholarly journals on topics related to his discipline, including on the history of chemistry. He received a Ford Foundation Fellowship in 1954 and was awarded a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship for the summers of 1958, 1959, and 1960. In 1967, Professor Gorman received the university’s first annual distinguished teaching award, and in 1984, he was named alumnus of the year by USF’s Health Professions Society. He continued to teach until his retirement in 1977, and as professor emeritus, he conducted research until his death in 1987. His legacy continues at the University of San Francisco, and at commencement every year, the Mel Gorman Award is presented to the graduating chemistry major with the best academic record in recognition of superior scientific scholarship.

Mel Gorman received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from USF in 1931, and later earned a master’s degree in science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate in chemistry from Stanford University. Professor Gorman conducted research, published extensively, taught chemistry at USF for 46 years, and in 1967, received USF’s first distinguished teaching award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Mel Gorman received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from USF in 1931, and later earned a master’s degree in science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate in chemistry from Stanford University. Professor Gorman conducted research, published extensively, taught chemistry at USF for 46 years, and in 1967, received USF’s first distinguished teaching award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

During the 1930s, Gorman’s colleagues in chemistry included James Conlan, S.J., founder of the Biochemical Club at St. Ignatius College, William Maroney, Clark Egan, and several others who taught a wide range of chemistry classes, Continue reading

Resilience During the Great Depression

During the 1920s, innovations in science and technology, growth in commerce and industry, a significant population increase, and high employment appeared to guarantee unending prosperity and limitless opportunities for the nation and for San Francisco. Then came the stock market crash of October 1929. Within a matter of days, $30 billion was lost, and the economy of the United States and much of the world was shaken to the core. Although only a relatively small percentage of the U.S. population was directly affected by the stock market crash, the market’s collapse set in motion economic forces that soon led to massive layoffs, business closings, and bank failures that wiped out the life savings of tens of thousands of people. In 1930, the United States saw 26,000 businesses close their doors, followed by another 28,000 in 1931. By 1932, almost 3,500 banks had gone under, eliminating billions of dollars in uninsured deposits. Twelve million people, or nearly 25 percent of the labor force, lost their jobs, and those who kept their jobs saw their real earnings fall by 33 percent. The economic collapse of the U.S. economy ushered in what soon became known throughout the world as the Great Depression.

During the Great Depression, the Farm Security Administration (FSA), one of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies, commissioned the accomplished photographer Dorothea Lange to chronicle life in the United States. This photo depicts a bread line in San Francisco. DOROTHEA LANGE/NATIONAL ARCHIVES/NEWSMAKERS

During the Great Depression, the Farm Security Administration (FSA), one of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies, commissioned the accomplished photographer Dorothea Lange to chronicle life in the United States. This photo depicts a bread line in San Francisco. DOROTHEA LANGE/NATIONAL ARCHIVES/NEWSMAKERS

As in the rest of the cities in the United States, the stock market collapse and Continue reading

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