Celebrating a Century: Chemistry Emeritus Professor Malcolm Renfrew Marks 100th Birthday, Events Planned

Monday, October 11 2010

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho celebrates an achievement of life, learning, engagement and legacy as Malcolm M. Renfrew, professor emeritus of chemistry, marks his 100th birthday this week.

“Certainly Dr. Renfrew models for us the best of the University of Idaho’s core missions, to help our students be their most successful and to ensure that our research serves not only our state, but the nation and world,” said President Duane Nellis. “In addition, Professor Renfrew is a 20th and 21st century ‘renaissance man’ through his involvement in many other areas, including community engagement, music, the arts and philanthropy. On behalf of a grateful university, we wish him a very happy 100th birthday.”

Born in Spokane on Oct. 12, 1910, Malcolm MacKenzie Renfrew’s life has taken him from the lumber mills of Potlatch to wartime research and development of breakthrough polymers, from performing in a traveling repertory theater tent show to teaching and mentoring generations of young chemists. He earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Idaho in 1932 and 1934, as well as an honorary degree in 1976. He worked at the highest levels of chemical research and development before returning to the university become a leading researcher and mentor and inspiration to countless faculty and students. One colleague stated:”Malcolm Renfrew is a supporter of all things positive.”

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has proclaimed Oct. 12, 2010, to be Malcolm M. Renfrew Day in Idaho. The governor’s proclamation recognizes Renfrew’s “highly successful career as a research scientist for several private corporations” and Renfrew’s tenure and accomplishments as head of the university’s physical sciences and chemistry departments.

In July 2010, Renfrew was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society in recognition of his distinguished research and teaching career.

The university will hold three public events to mark Renfrew’s centennial birthday:
• Thursday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m.: Renfrew Distinguished Lecture in Chemistry. The program features N. D. Heindel, Howard S. Bunn Professor of Chemistry at Lehigh University. His presentation is titled, “Nostrums, Quackery, Patent Medicines and the Contributions of Malcolm Renfrew.” The lecture is in Renfrew Hall Room 111.

• Saturday, Oct. 16, 2-4 p.m.: Re-dedication of Malcolm M. Renfrew Hall on the University of Idaho campus. The event includes remarks by President Duane Nellis at 2:15 p.m., light refreshments and an exclusive viewing of Renfrew’s watercolors coordinated by the Palouse Watercolor Socius. The Renfrew building was originally dedicated to honor his 75th birthday in 1985.

• Tuesday, Oct. 19, 12:30 p.m.: Interdisciplinary Colloquium. The interdisciplinary lecture series will be renamed in honor of Malcolm Renfrew. Jean’ne Shreeve, Jean’ne Shreeve Professor of Chemistry, will speak about Renfrew’s career and contributions. Others also will share thoughts and comments about Renfrew and have an opportunity to speak with him. The event takes place in the Idaho Commons Whitewater Room and is sponsored by the University Office of Research and Economic Development and the University Honors Program. For more information about the series, e-mail uic@uidaho.edu or visit www.uidaho.edu/class/uic.
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About the University of Idaho

Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation classification for high research activity. The student population of 12,302 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For more information, visit www.uidaho.edu.

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.