Donald Noyce, professor emeritus of chemistry,
dies at age 81
Donald S. Noyce, a professor
emeritus of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley,
and former associate dean of undergraduate affairs in the College
of Chemistry, died at his home on Nov. 3 at the age of 81. He was
a highly regarded teacher and an organic chemist who loved to discern
the mechanisms of chemical reactions.
Noyce was born in Burlington,
Iowa, in 1923 and received his B.A. from Grinnell College in 1944.
He pursued his graduate studies at Columbia University and received
his Ph.D. in 1947. Noyce joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1948
as a chemistry instructor and worked his way up the academic ladder,
becoming a full professor in 1960. In 1957, he was the recipient
of a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent six months studying in London
and Zurich. He retired from UC Berkeley in 1986 and was awarded
the Berkeley Citation for his service to the campus.
He was known for his special
concern for undergraduate students and, as assistant and then associate
dean of undergraduate affairs, positions he held for 22 years, he
was responsible for implementing the colleges highly regarded
system of student advising. In addition, he was responsible for
organizing the colleges commencement ceremony for 12 years,
from 1974-1986, interacting enthusiastically with students.
Noyce enjoyed a reputation
as one of the colleges best teachers, and for many years was
principally responsible for the Organic Chemistry for Biological
Students course, a large, demanding course taken by thousands
of pre-medical students. His love of teaching was recognized by
the Donald Sterling Noyce Prize, an award established in his name
by his brother, Intel co-founder Robert N. Noyce, to reward excellence
in undergraduate teaching; Donald Noyce was the first recipient.
Noted a former student: Besides being an excellent teacher
and administrator, Professor Noyce is a kind and amiable person
who always takes the time to be courteous and to treat his students
as fellow human beings.
He published over 100
articles and directed the work of nearly 40 graduate students. Noyce
was particularly known for his work on acid-catalyzed reactions,
proton addition reactions and the reactivity patterns of heterocyclic
systems. Working in the basement of the old Chem building, Noyce
made significant contributions to carbocation chemistry. Among his
many notable research accomplishments: determining the mechanism
of the acid-catalyzed and base-catalyzed aldol condensation; elucidating
the mechanism of the acid-catalyzed isomerization of cis-trans bonds
in olefins; and pioneering the study of conformational equilibrium
by low-temperature proton magnetic resonance measurements.
He is survived by his
wife of 58 years, Bettie, of Oakland; son, Robert, of Eau Claire,
Wis.; son, Donald, of Grand Marais, Minn,; daughter, Nancy, of Ashland,
Ore.; and seven grandchildren.
A memorial celebration
of his life was held in the Sky Room at Piedmont Gardens at 110
41st Street, Oakland at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13. The family
has requested that any contributions in his memory be sent to Grinnell
College, Grinnell, IA 50012 for student scholarships.