Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chemistry, ETSU, in 1978

We moved to Tennessee in 1971. I was promoted in the Chemistry Department to Associate Professor in 1976, even though I was not given Tenure at the time, as they said I needed to be on campus seven years before consideration. However, in 1978, there was a momentous event which took place in the Chemistry Department. It occurred behind the scenes and on the surface nothing seemed to be happening. In fact, spring in Johnson City, Tennessee, is a beautiful time of the year. You can see dogwoods and azaleas every place you go, including on the ETSU campus. (See the pictures below taken near the college administration building.) Yet, despite all the beauty around us, there was turmoil in the department. That was the year my mentor, Dr. D G Nicholson, decided to retire. In his mind, according to longtime tradition, he planned to select the person to replace him as Chair. Since he was a very traditional person, he wanted to select the oldest faculty member in the department, Dr. Robert Snell. However, Dr. Snell was not a well-liked person, by almost everyone in and out the department. The administration did not like Nicholson’s choice either. So the decision was made to choose from outside the department and we would have a temporary acting chair who turned out to be one of the youngest faculty members in the department, Dr. Richard Kopp. This story is not finished here. I will have to tell you more about this later, as it turned and twisted for quite a bit before we had any conclusion.etsu-1etsu-3

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