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October 12, 2010, Volume 57, No. 07

Dr. Atherton, Political Science

Dr. Alexine Atherton, former professor of political science, died August 15 in West Grove, PA. She was 80 years old.

Born in Philadelphia in 1930, Dr. Atherton received her BA in German literature in 1952 from Bryn Mawr College, and went on to earn a PhD in political science from Penn in 1962.

After her graduation, she became one of the first women hired by Penn’s department of political science. She served on the faculty for seven years before taking a position at Lincoln University in 196a9. She taught at Lincoln for 31 years, until her retirement in 2001.

Dr. Atherton was a member of many boards and community organizations. She was president of Neighborhood Services in Oxford, served on the board of Chester County Cares and developed programs for the Chester County YMCA. She served as President of the Pennsylvania Prison Society and editor of the Prison Society Journal. As an advocate for prisoners’ rights, she dedicated many hours to visiting female inmates at the Chester County Prison. In the 1950s, she worked for the American Friends Service Committee, which established schools for displaced children in post WWII Germany. She also led study trips for students through India and Africa for the Experiment in International Living.

Dr. Atherton is survived by a brother, Charles; a niece, a nephew and five cousins.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Neighborhood Services Center, 35 North Third Street, Oxford, PA 19363.


Dr. Cava, Chemistry

Dr. Michael P. Cava, former professor of chemistry, died September 29, in Brookline, MA. He was 84 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, Dr. Cava earned a BS in chemistry from Harvard University in 1946, and a PhD in 1951 from the University of Michigan.

From 1951 to 1953 he was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard, where he collaborated with Professor Robert B. Woodward on a publication describing the total synthesis of strychnine.

He moved on to Ohio State University (1953-1965), where he rose through the ranks of assistant, associate, then full professor. He then taught at Wayne State University from 1965-69.

He came to Penn in 1965 and remained here until 1985, when he accepted the Ramsay Chair of Chemistry at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. He held that position until his retirement in 2004.

At Penn, he was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of organic chemistry ranging from natural products to organic metals and conducting polymers. “He was an amazing individual who had a prodigious memory and an encyclopedic knowledge of organic chemistry,” said Dr. Madeleine M. Joullié, professor of chemistry. He extracted and characterized many rare natural products from marine and terrestrial sources worldwide. Many of these originated from Central America and Brazil, where he traveled extensively. He visited India, Switzerland, Brazil, and France during research leaves and as a Guggenheim Fellow (1984-1985). He was fluent in French, German and Portuguese. Dr. Cava published almost 500 papers, and a popular organic chemistry textbook with his colleagues from Wayne State University. He supervised over 80 PhD dissertations and mentored more than 100 post-doctoral research associates from many countries.

He is survived by his wife, Armelle Guinard, his son, John, and granddaughter, Sophie Rose.

Mr. Macky, Engineering

Walter Brooks Macky, former business manager of the Towne Engineering School, now known as the School of Engineering and Applied Science, died September 25 in Lewisburg, PA. He was 103 years old.

Born in Media, PA and a 1926 graduate of Media High School, Mr. Macky went on to earn an associates degree in accounting from Wharton in 1932.

He joined the Army Air Corps and attained the rank of captain during WWII. He returned home in 1946 and worked as an accountant for American Viscose Co. until the 1950s.

In 1963, he became the business manager at the Towne School and stayed at Penn until his retirement in 1978.

He is survived by a daughter, Patricia Fisher; son, Peter; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Dr. Rhodes, Veterinary Medicine

Dr. William Harker Rhodes, professor emeritus of radiology, died September 29 at the Coatesville VA Medical Center at the age of 85.

Dr. Rhodes was born in Trenton, NJ. Following high school, he served as a radiology technician in the US Navy from 1943-1946, after which he graduated from New York University in 1951 with a BA degree. In 1955 he graduated with a VMD from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by three years of radiology training and earned a master of medical science in radiology from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine.

From 1955 until his retirement in 1985, as professor emeritus of radiology, he was a faculty member in the School of Veterinary Medicine with a joint appointment in radiology at the School of Medicine.

He received a Lindback Award for Teaching in 1965 and was a frequent lecturer at numerous state and national veterinary meetings.
Dr. Rhodes played a major role in the development of veterinary radiology that included a founding member and past president of the Educators in Veterinary Radiologic Science (the first veterinary radiology organization in US) and then the American Veterinary Radiologic Society, a member of numerous AVMA and AAHA advisory committees and the New York Academy of Science. He was a charter member and chair of the Organizing Committee for the American Board of Veterinary Radiology (the first clinical specialty approved by the AVMA), now the American College of Veterinary Radiology. He was also a founding member of the International Veterinary Radiology Society.

He had received national and international recognition. The American College of Radiology bestowed its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, to him in 1999, and the best oral and poster awards of the International Veterinary Radiology Association are named in his honor.

He served as the first editor of Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound, from 1963-1979, a journal that was initially named the Journal of the American Veterinary Radiology Society and in 1979 renamed again as Veterinary Radiology.

He is survived by his former wife, Augustine Janeway Rhodes; son, Gus and wife, Cindy; son, Sandy and wife, Paula Coble; daughter, Anne and husband, Robert Amos; son, Chris and wife, Carol; son, Jason and wife, Lisa; and grandchildren, Nathan Amos, Sarah Amos, Mariah Rhodes, Elizabeth Rhodes, and Christina Rhodes.

Memorial gifts may be sent to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Checks should be made payable to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania with the notation in the memo line “In Memory of Dr. Wm. Harker Rhodes,” and mailed to the Penn Veterinary Medicine Office of Development and Alumni Relations, 3800 Spruce Street, Suite 172 E, Philadelphia, PA 19104.


Dr. Rutman, Veterinary Medicine

Robert Rutman, professor emeritus of biochemistry in the School of Veterinary Medicine, died Monday, September 20 in Phoenix, AZ. He was 91.

Born in New York City, he received a BA from Penn State in 1940 and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1950.

Dr. Rutman was a captain in the army during WWII, assigned to the Manhattan Project. He began his teaching career as an assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University until he was fired in 1953 for alleged communist affiliations. Dr. Rutman told his family he was not a communist, but attended party meetings because of his interest in social issues.

An advocate for equality, Dr. Rutman organized “Teach-Ins” in opposition to the Vietnam War at Penn, Temple, and Swarthmore College. He was a regular contributor to Almanac’s Speaking Out column, offering opinions on topics such as racism, intellectual property and mentorship.

Dr. Rutman was a research associate in the department of zoology at Penn from 1954-56, and then was a senior research associate in the department of chemistry until 1961. That year, he was appointed associate professor in chemistry, with a joint appointment in the School of Arts and Sciences as a member of graduate groups in biochemistry, chemistry and molecular biology. He was appointed associate professor of biochemistry in the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1968, and full professor in 1969.

In 1973, he traveled to Africa, where he spent one year as a visiting professor at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Dr. Rutman is survived by two daughters, Randy Cullen and Rose Rutman; stepchildren Stephen, Brian and David Johnson; and Ellen Kafalas and six grandchildren.

Alan Lerner, Law

At press time, Almanac learned of the death of Alan M. Lerner, professor of law. He died on October 7 of complications arising from cancer; he was 68.

An obit will appear in Almanac next week.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the University of Pennsylvania Law Clinic, 3400 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Almanac - October 12, 2010, Volume 57, No. 07