Dr Bowe served his country as a scientist on the Manhattan Project, followed by a distinguished career as a nuclear physicist at Argonne National Laboratory. His love of academia led him to Benedictine University where, through his retirement, he devoted himself to his students.
Dr. Joseph C. Bowe, PhD, age 93, passed away November 4, 2014, surrounded by his family at his home in Downers Grove.
Born in Aurora in 1938, Dr. Buss began teaching at Benedictine in 1970 after spending a few years on a postdoctoral appointment at Argonne National Laboratory near Batavia.
He received his doctorate in physics from the University of Notre Dame in 1967 and his undergraduate degree from Benedictine University, the former St. Procopius College, in 1961.
As a professor at Benedictine, Dr. Buss taught physics and developed a course in nuclear physics, but his greatest love was working with students.
"He was certainly an outstanding teacher, quite caring, and worked effectively with students," said Ralph Meeker, professor of physics and computer science at Benedictine. "He was quiet, soft-spoken, friendly and easy to get along with."
Dr. Buss' wife, Margaret, said, "He was a teacher and he enjoyed being a teacher," she said. "I don't think he ever thought about being anything else."
Margaret Buss noted that several of her husband's students went on to esteemed careers in the sciences. Though none of his work was patented, Dr. Buss invented several items, including a water therapy system to treat individuals with physical ailments.
Duane J. Buss, a longtime professor and chairman of the department of physics at Benedictine University in Lisle, died Tuesday, May 5, 1998 in Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.
(Informaiton by Gene Kuleta, Chicago Tribune online)
Born in Chicago, Dr. Carney was raised on the South Side and graduated from Visitation High School in 1938. She received a bachelor's degree in physics from DePaul University and a PhD in physics from Illinois Institute of Technology, where she was a National Science Foundation faculty fellow.
Rose A. Carney was a graduate student of physics in her 20s when she began a yearlong stint as a research assistant at the University of Chicago, working on the Manhattan Project.
Those close to her say she was part of a team that developed technical instrumentation, and was on hand that historic day, Dec. 2, 1942, when sustained nuclear reaction was observed in the university's testing labs.
After working as a research assistant at the University of Chicago, Dr. Carney taught physics and mathematics at DePaul, and later became an assistant professor of physics and mathematics at St. Xavier College in Chicago.
In 1948, Dr. Carney began a 42-year tenure at St. Procopius College in Lisle, becoming the first layperson to serve as a full-time professor of physics and mathematics. She served as head of the mathematics department for 21 years and chairman of the natural sciences division for 11 years, prior to her retirement in 1990.
"Rose broke a lot of ground at St. Procopius, being one of the college's first female physics professors and the first layperson to serve on its faculty," said former student Ralph Meeker, and now a professor emeritus of computer science at Benedictine University. "Before that, the faculty had been completely staffed by Benedictine monks and members of other religious orders."
"She was an extraordinary teacher, certainly demanding, but always very engaging and approachable," Meeker said. "The key to her success was that she could take average students and make them better."
During her summers while teaching, Dr. Carney also worked as a research associate at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont and was an active member of Women and Mathematics.
"She always looked for opportunities to encourage female students in mathematics and the sciences," Meeker said. "She, more than most, understood the obstacles facing women in those fields."
Dr. Carney was 86 when she passed from congestive heart failure on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007
James Hazdra 1986 - 1990
Director of Clinical Practica
Dr. Hazdra, a Downers Grove resident, worked for 30 years at the Lisle college that was his alma mater.
He was the college`s first director of health-care education and served in that post for 11 years. He also was the college`s director of grants and of planned giving.
He graduated from Illinois Benedictine in 1955 and later earned a doctorate in chemistry from Purdue University.
Dr. Hazdra began his career as a product researcher in 1960, in the glass division of Continental Can Co. while teaching part-time at Illinois Benedictine.
He joined the faculty full-time in 1963 and six years later became a full professor of chemistry and biochemistry. From 1965 to 1977, he was chairman of the department. During that time, the college`s first biochemistry major was fully developed, the first research facility was installed on the campus, the program was first accredited by the American Chemical Society, and the college opened modern laboratories in a new science building.
Dr. Hazdra helped develop the school`s degree programs in nursing, medical technology, health science, nutrition and dietetics, health service management and nuclear medicine technology. He also was instrumental in establishing the school`s pre-nursing affiliation with Rush-Presbyterian- St. Luke`s Medical Center.
James J. Hazdra, 56, professor emeritus of chemistry at Illinois Benedictine College, died Friday, May 25, 1990 after a brief illness.
Peter Healey 1986
Born in 1939 in Huntly, New Zealand, he was the junior national gymnastics all-around champion from 1955-1957. He was responsible for creating the gymnastics move now called the Healy.
He received his PhD in Physiology in 1981 from the Chicago Medical School. A dedicated educator, Peter taught at George Williams College from 1966 until the school closed in 1986. He followed his educational department to Benedictine University, where he served as the director of the PARCH program, retiring in 2002.
Peter K. F. Healey, passed away at the age of 76 on February 15, 2016 in Downers Grove.
Father Edmund Jurica, O.S.B. was born in Cloverdale, IL on July 16,1900. His family moved to St. Procopius parish in Chicago where he attended the parish school. Father Edmund then came to Lisle to attend St. Procopius Academy (now Benet Academy) and St. Procopius College, which is now Benedictine University. Father Edmund professed his monastic vows on July 17, 1917 and was ordained to the priesthood on May 26, 1923. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago in 1926.
In many ways, it is hard to talk about Fr. Edmund or Fr. Hilary separately as they worked together for so many years, sharing common goals of excellence for the school and their students. For over forty years Fr. Hilary and Fr. Edmund worked to develop the biology department at St. Procopius College. Fr. Edmund taught pre-med courses and for seven years he taught summer school classes in zoology at DePaul University. Frequent trips and exchanges with other institutions enabled the two brothers to accumulate a vast collection of plant and animal specimens which the brothers considered to be a teaching collection and not a museum. The Jurica brothers believed very strongly in the "hands-on" method of instruction and were dedicated to their students. Together they produced a series of biology charts and accompanying worksheets which are still in use in biology classrooms across the country. In a presentation to colleagues in 1938, Father Edmund expressed his feelings about the use of the animal collection. "Some call this collection a museum--that it absolutely is not.....The mounts are withdrawn from the cabinets and placed upon a table when the animals are studied...How inferior is the course in zoology if the students have no contact with at least a few real animals live or dead!"
Father Edmund was known as a dedicated and painstaking instructor by his students. In 1962 he received the St. Procopius College Distinguished Educator Award and the 1963 college yearbook was dedicated to him. The editors noted that Fr. Edmund was a most inspiring man who never turned away a student in need.
In addition to his classroom work and professional development, Fr. Edmund, along with Fr. Victor Laketek, O.S.B., conducted one of the largest bird-banding and classification stations in the United States during the 1930's. In 1952, the observatory which was designed by Fr. Edmund and built by Brother Andrew Havlik, O.S.B. was opened on the campus. Fr. Edmund spent the last years of his life presiding over the development of the Jurica Museum as the Scholl Science Center was built.
Much saddened by the death of his brother in 1970, Father Edmund proudly presided over the dedication of the museum named after Father Hillary (and later himself as well) in the Scholl Science Center.
Father Edmund died on October 26, 1972.
Father Hilary Jurica, O.S.B. was born in Slovakia on June 19, 1892. His family moved to the United States when he was a young boy and moved again from Cloverdale, IL to Chicago where he finished his elementary education at St. Procopius Parish school. Fr. Hilary attended that parish's high school and enrolled as a scholastic in Lisle in 1911. He professed his monastic vows on July 12, 1915. Fr. Hilary was ordained on May 21, 1921 and he was awarded a doctorate degree in biology from the University of Chicago on the feast of St. Benedict, March 21, 1922. Father Hilary was the first monk of St. Procopius Abbey to attain this academic honor and the first American Benedictine to receive a doctorate from a secular university.
With his younger brother, Fr. Edmund, he worked for forty years to elevate the college to the high level for which it continues to be known. Fr. Hilary, the botanist, and Fr. Edmund, the zoologist, travelled around the country during the summer months gathering many of the specimens on display in the Jurica Nature Museum. They worked closely with other biologists around the country to bring many treasures to the college's collections. The driving force behind this collecting was education--the Jurica brothers were in the forefront of the hands-on education movement. The specimens were collected and shared for educational purposes and not for display. In addition, Fr. Hilary and Fr. Edmund worked with many students to produce the Jurica Biology Charts and accompanying student worksheets which are still used by high schools and colleges across the United States.
Father Hilary held memberships in no fewer than 11 science societies around the United States and for 19 summers he taught courses at DePaul University, where he directed over 80 masters theses in biology. Father Hilary was responsible for obtaining for the college the skeleton of the famous gorilla, Bushman (d. January 1, 1951), who lived at Lincoln Park Zoo and who can be seen at the Field Museum. Father Hilary also devised innovative ways of preserving and displaying specimens for his students to study. He devised both wet and dry methods of displaying many specimens which are still in use today, both in the biology department and in the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum.
Although not renowned as a demanding teacher, Fr. Hilary was loved and respected by his students. He received the St. Procopius College Distinguished Educator Award in 1960.
In addition to his work at the college and collecting specimens, Fr. Hilary was a priest who worked hard at a job he loved for 49 years at St. Vitus Parish in Chicago where he baptized over 1000 people and witnessed the marriages of more than 250 couples. He worked with the school children and often took them on street cars to visit the Field Museum.
At the dedication of the museum in 1971, Right Reverend Daniel Kucera, O.S.B., Abbot of St. Procopius Abbey, spoke of Fr. Hilary and added the following: I could stop here but I have one more point to make because I am sure Fr. Edmund would never make it. Father Hilary had the rarest of good fortune. He had a younger brother at his side throughout his entire life. A good brother that so ably complemented and assisted him, working side by side as a fellow scientist, a fellow monk and a fellow priest. Father Edmund's own modesty would prevent him from saying what a large contribution he made not only to this college and his community but to Father Hilary himself by supporting him, by working with him and by encouraging him...
Fr. Hilary, when I knew him, was a “grandfatherly type. He had a big smile and usually seemed cheerful. He was an outgoing person and quite forward—if he wanted something, he pushed and prodded till he got what he wanted. He was the moving force behind the Jurica series of biology flip charts. - Wayne Weslowski
Father Hilary died on February 8, 1970.
As a young woman, she was a Catholic nun at the Order of the Sacred Heart in Dayton, Ohio, where she taught math.
She left the convent to further her studies and obtained her doctorate in mathematics from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Phyllis devoted herself to educating others and had a fulfilling 30-year career at Illinois Benedictine College (now Benedictine University), where she taught math, was the dean of faculty and eventually became vice president of academic affairs.
Dr. Kittel was involved in the Honors Program in addition to her faculty position and often led wilderness adventures to Colorado with the honors students.
She was accepting of everyone, did her best to educate others about different cultures and lifestyles, and she was highly regarded by her colleagues and students.
Dr. Kittel passed away on December 4, 2019 in Colorado Springs.
James Meehan was born on June 3,1945 at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen, Park, Illinois. He attended Little Flower High School on the south side. He excelled in math and science, was a National Honor Society member, and the Salutatorian of the Class of 1962.
Jim earned a Bachelor of Science degree in from St. Procopius College in 1966, majoring in Mathematics. He credited the dedicated faculty for preparing him well for his graduate studies. While at Procopius Jim participated in a variety of intramural sports and continued to enjoy park district softball.
Jim pursued graduate school, earning a Master of Science in Mathematics from Marquette University in 1968, and a Master of Science in Statistics from Purdue University in 1971. He was awarded a Doctor of Arts from University of Illinois/Chicago in 1984.
Jim joined the faculty at Illinois Benedictine College (formerly St. Procopius College, now Benedictine University) in 1971. Jim loved teaching and continued to volunteer as a math tutor after his retirement in 1998. Jim’s dedication to his students went beyond the classroom, as he offered study sessions for students interested in actuarial science, helping several pass the first two exams.
Jim returned to intramural sports, now as part of a faculty team, and also continued with park district softball on a team with several former students. For several years he served as official scorer for the IBC men’s varsity basketball team.
James Meehan passed away on June 10, 2010 at Westbury Care Center in Lisle, Illinois.
John Mickus - 1978 – 2011
Jeanne Norris 1986
Jeanne was born in Randolph, Mass., on Jan. 30, 1928. Her journey began in her native Massachusetts, where she earned a music degree and a master's degree in education at Boston University. Some 19 years later, she received a Ph.D. in physiology from Loyola University.
From there she continued her teaching career as professor of physiology at George Williams College, and later at Illinois Benedictine College, until her retirement in 1992. While at GWC, she was instrumental in developing the Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, and the RN to BSN degrees.
An early pioneer of campus computing, she continued to expand her knowledge of technology post-retirement, building a successful business called Computer Tutors. After relocating to Maine more than 20 years ago, Jeanne had continued her successful technology consulting business. She had earned numerous honors in her profession, including serving as Commissioner At Large for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and election to the American Physiological Society, the Society of Sigma Xi - National Research Honor Society, Pi Lambda Theta - National Honor Society for Women in Education, and Mu Phi Epsilon - National Honor Society for Women in Music. She was also a member of numerous professional organizations and had published in the area of human physiology.
Jeanne Ethel Norris was 90 when she passed away on May 12, 2018, at her home in Litchfield, Maine.
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David Rausch joined the St. Procopius College faculty as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1966. He had just finished a post-doctoral year at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) following completion of his Ph.D. at Iowa State University (Ames) in 1965. His dissertation research focused on physical organic chemistry --- the synthesis and conformations of cyclopentyl compounds under the direction of Dr. Charles DePuy. He minored in Biochemistry and Inorganic Chemistry. Dr. Rausch had attended St. Procopius College from 1958 to 1962 as a chemistry major and received his B.S. degree and the College's Science Award in 1962.
He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1968 and Full Professor in 1973. As the organic chemist on the faculty, Dr. Rausch has taught the year-long organic chemistry class to the biochemistry, biology, chemistry, and health science students who have graduated from Benedictine University during his forty year tenure at the University. He introduced the use of microscale laboratory techniques in 1988 to the organic chemistry laboratories; the first college in the State of Illinois to do so and one of the first in the nation. By using very small quantities of chemicals and reprocessing most of the reaction products, these procedures minimize the production of organic compounds that must be disposed of as hazardous waste. This work was recognized by the State of Illinois as an outstanding demonstration of environmental effectiveness. The University received Governor Jim Thompson's Waste Reduction Award in 1987. Dr. Rausch with the help of his students developed many unique laboratory experiments and introduced the use of computerized data analysis tools for interpretation of experimental data for the organic chemistry laboratory, particularly spectroscopic studies using nuclear magnetic resonance. He has taught a number of faculty workshops at Argonne National Laboratory in NMR interpretation, Spectral Analysis and Chemical Applications of NMR Spectroscopy. He taught review courses in Organic Chemistry and Spectral Analysis to the technicians at BP-AMOCO from 1972-1995.
Dr. Rausch has an excellent record of publications and presentations in organic chemistry (20 publications and 2 patents). He wrote the med cat review book in organic chemistry for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, BAR/BRI Division in 1990. He has been an active member of the American Chemical Society. He has spent a number of summers as a visiting research scientist at Argonne National Laboratory focusing on photochemistry, the synthesis of crown ethers and other organic extractants for heavy metal ion separations and applications of nuclear magnetic resonance studies to examine their metal ion bonding. In addition, he has maintained an active on-campus research program and collaborated with other chemists from BP-AMOCO and NALCO. He has obtained research grants totaling over $100,000 over the years. More than 75 chemistry majors have completed their senior theses under his supervision. His students have presented more than 30 papers at local, regional, and national conferences. Most of these graduates have since completed post-graduate degrees in chemistry, biochemistry and the medical sciences.
During his 40 years at Benedictine University, Dr. Rausch has taught in three different Science Buildings and has served on many committees. He was chairman of the Department of Chemistry from 1977-1982. During this time, he wrote grants to acquire major instrumentation in the department including a 60 MHz NMR, a Gas Chromatograph, a GC-MS, an IR spectrometer, an HPLC, a refrigerated centrifuge, an ultra centrifuge and an external solvent storage shed. He was active in recruiting and during this time Illinois Benedictine College graduated more ACS certified Chemistry/Biochemistry majors than any Catholic College in the country and was fifth in the State of Illinois (behind University of Illinois- Champaign and Chicago, Eastern Illinois and Northwestern). Of particular note are his many years of service on the Faculty Welfare Committee (five years as chairman) and the Health Sciences Recommendations Committee. He also served for 7 years as Faculty Athletic Representative for NCAA compliance. He is an avid fan of Eagles athletics and started the varsity tennis program at St. Procopius College in 1968.
David and his wife Polly celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. They are the parents of six children and grandparents of 12. Remarkably, Polly and all six of their children are also graduates of Benedictine University. In retirement Dr. Rausch is teaching part time and consulting at BP-Amoco. His favorite pastime is traveling to France, California and the Northwest to find outstanding wines.
Br. William Shonka graduated from St Procopius College with a B.A. in mathematics in 1925. Upon completing his studies for the priesthood and ordination in 1929 Fr. Cosmos directed him to earn his Ph.D in physics at the University of Chicago. His thesis, completed in 1933, was conducted under the Nobel Prize winning physicist Arthur Compton.
As the Manhattan Project came underway, Fr. William Shonka was called upon for his expertise in radiation and particle physics by many eminent scientists, including Enrico Fermi. Using the name “Metallurgical Laboratory” (Met Lab) as a cover for the U of Chicago projects, scientists from across the country were brought together to this central location to develop chain-reacting “piles” for plutonium production, to devise methods for extracting plutonium from the irradiated uranium, and to design a weapon.
Fr. William returned fulltime to St. Procopius to teach physics and math, lending his mathematical and engineering skills to various projects on campus. In the classroom, he was known to be extremely inspiring, passionate, and enthusiastic, while also being extremely demanding.
Born in Cary, Illinois, on December 4, 1940, David Suchy came to St. Procopius College after graduating from Crystal Lake Community High School. Joining the monastic community, he professed his monastic vows on June 24, 1962. As a cleric, he taught both English and Science courses at St. Procopius, and then Benet, Academy. Father Theodore was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Romeo Blanchette at St. Raymond Nonnatus Cathedral on May 27, 1967. His first bachelor's degree having been in philosophy, he completed a second one in biology in 1968 and then continued his studies at Indiana University, from which he obtained a Master of Science degree in Biology in 1970.
The death of the noted biologists, Fathers Hilary and Edmund Jurica, in the early 1970s left the young "Father Ted" in charge of the Biology Department at Illinois Benedictine College, and a major portion of his work in life, until his dying day, was the preservation and enhancement of the legacy bequeathed him by these educational pioneers. What had been a collection of plants and animals amassed for classroom demonstration purposes became under his direction a full-scale nature museum, first in Scholl and then in Birck Hall, where today it is a major resource for biological education in DuPage County.
Father Theodore, a quiet man with a wry sense of humor, gentle by nature but firm when necessary, also served the College and University as the director of Kohlbeck Hall for over a decade, chaplain and then associate campus minister for many years, and teacher of biology until 2009, the same year when the name of the museum was expanded to honor his many contributions. Only in the last summer of his life did he make the transition to curator emeritus of the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum, which he continued to visit almost daily.
At the monastery, Father Theodore served in a number of major positions, including Vocation Director (1974-1983), Novice Master (1983-1991), and Prior (1985-1991). During the last decade of his life, his health deteriorated, and by 2004 it was clear that he was suffering from Parkinson's Disease. Though the power of speech gradually deserted him, and he became ever less steady on his feet, he bore his infirmity with grace and humor, and he continued to be involved in the daily care of the main Abbey courtyard and the supervision of the grounds until the end of his life.
Father Theodore died on October 28, 2012.