In Remembrance of Glenn Crosby

by John and Betty Moore
Glenn A. Crosby, Chair of the Division of Chemical Education in 1982, passed away on December 2, 2018 at the age of 90. Glenn was born and raised in southwestern Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Waynesburg College (now Waynesburg University). Glenn’s graduate work was at the University of Washington, where he received a Ph.D. under Paul C. Cross. He did postdoctoral study with Michael Kasha at Florida State University and then took a faculty position at the University of New Mexico. In 1967 he moved to Washington State University, where he conducted research in chemical physics on structural and electronic aspects of optical, magnetic, and photophysical properties of transition-metal complexes. Glenn trained many graduate students and won many awards including Humboldt Fellow, Fulbright Fellow, and ACS Award in Chemical Education.

What set Glenn Crosby apart—and is not evident in a list of achievements and awards—was his indefatigable zeal and tireless work on behalf of chemistry, education, and young people. Glenn’s efforts were inextricably intertwined with those of his wife, Jane L. Crosby, whose death in May 2016 was honored in this publication that year. Both Glenn and Jane were recipients of Division of Chemical Education Outstanding Service Awards, he in 2003 and she in 2006. Together they organized and encouraged chemical education programming at regional meetings, raised funds to endow ACS Regional Awards for Excellence in High School Teaching, organized and led workshops for high school teachers at Biennial Conferences on Chemical Education (Operation Progress during the 1990s), and ran summer science camps for middle school children. Glenn and Jane were joint recipients of the Charles Lathrop Parsons Award for service to the ACS in 2009. When he ran for ACS President in 1998, Glenn (and his opponent, Daryle Busch) were the first candidates to provide their chemistry education statements to the Journal of Chemical Education, a tradition that continued for a decade and called significant attention to ACS’s role in supporting chemistry education.

Glenn (and Jane) Crosby’s contributions to the Division of Chemical Education went much further. In 1978, at a Long-Range Planning Conference held in Fort Collins, CO, just prior to the fifth BCCE, Glenn proposed and then initiated a long-range plan for programming at national ACS meetings that energized DivCHED’s activities for decades. He created a system in which an overall program chair provides continuity and meeting chairs provide on-the-spot organization that persists to this day. Programming for high school teachers was part of the mix, as were special Breakthrough Lectures that brought to division members summaries of recent research developments, often described by Nobel Prize winners. These lectures were translated into print in the Journal of Chemical Education, bringing them to an even larger audience. At the same time Jane initiated a newsletter that was distributed with national meeting abstracts (on paper—remember that cellulosic material?) with the goal of better informing members about DivCHED activities. Glenn and Jane also participated with the two of us in hosting Hospitality Suites at national meetings. Back in those days, there were few social events at national meetings and the suite provided a place for division members to relax, develop friendships, and meet others who might be recruited to become members.

Glenn Crosby could see possibilities others missed and he went far beyond just hoping that someone would bring them to fruition. For 30 years he organized, proselytized, and fund-raised to make things happen that benefited chemistry education and chemistry educators as well as students and children—all with impish glee. Glenn Crosby’s effective efforts on behalf of our division should spur us to re-examine possibilities that we too can reach out to groups outside DivCHED, bring in new faces and new ideas, and encourage the broadest possible range of participants in chemical education activities.


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