10/16/2019 Joan I. Vondra, Ph.D., ’81

Letters to the Editor (Fall 2019)

This magazine article is part of Fall 2019 / Issue 94

It is a sorrowful moment to hear of a favorite professor's death. Sorrowful, yes, but not without memories that warm the heart.

Dr. Ruth Van Horn was not a flashy prof, not a prof who invited you into her personal life, certainly not a prof to make social or political waves (beyond the fact of being the first female professor in the sciences and the first to receive tenure!). But when both my daughters struggled through college organic chemistry, I was very much taken aback. I had found it so appealing! I am certain this was a gift of Dr. Van Horn.

I was not a chemistry major, but both Dr. (Claude) Yoder and Dr. Van Horn showed me how straightforward, reasonable and ultimately enjoyable chemistry could be. They were soft-spoken, articulate and caring professors who brought me very close to declaring a chemistry major. If my heart weren't caught up already in child psychology, I have no doubt that I would have.

This is my opportunity to give grateful and appreciative thanks to both wonderful professors! Dr. Van Horn, you will always be remembered—with respect and affection.

Joan I. Vondra, Ph.D., ’81
Professor, Retired
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Dr. Ruth Van Horn
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