In Remembrance

The Emeritus Academy remembers those who have gone before.

Professor Emeritus, Marion campus

Obituary from The Marion Star:

Longtime Ohio State Marion physics professor, Dr. Gordon J. Aubrecht, II, 73, passed away at his home in Delaware Monday afternoon, Nov. 21, 2016. He'd been informed that he had untreatable cancer in late September. In an e-mail to faculty and staff, Dr. Aubrecht said he was shocked by the diagnosis, noting he'd only taken one sick day in his 43 years of teaching at Ohio State Marion. He received his doctorate from Princeton University in 1971.

Aubrecht received Ohio State's Faculty Award for Distinguished University Service in 2008.

"Gordon was dedicated to his students and shared his love of physics with hundreds of them through his tenure here," said Ohio State Marion dean and director, Dr. Gregory S. Rose, "but he was also a scholar in all senses of the word, publishing numerous papers and writing a textbook titled "Energy" in 2005. We will miss his intellect and personal energy on this campus."

A close friend, Dr. Brian McEnnis called Aubrecht "a driving force" and "a central figure" in shaping Ohio State's regional campuses. He helped set up a regional campus council that represented the interests of the regional campuses to Ohio State's central administration. McEnnis said it was Aubrecht who insisted that faculty on the regional campuses be held to the same standards of research and scholarship as those employed in Columbus.

In addition to his teaching duties, Aubrecht was active in many organizations including the American Physical Society, the Association for University Regional Campuses of Ohio, and the American Association of University Professors. In fact, at the time of his passing, he was the president of The Ohio State University Chapter of the AAUP. Fellow member Dr. Douglas Macbeth called him "a tireless defender of academic freedom and an energetic participant in University governance." Macbeth noted that "Gordon was passionate about physics and physics education. He shared his knowledge beyond the classroom in his role as a public intellectual."

For many years, Aubrecht was involved in helping high school and middle school science teachers develop an inquiry-based model for science education. He was working on writing a book on the subject at the time of his death.

Ohio State Marion has established a fund to name the physics lab in the new science and engineering building rising on the campus in honor of Aubrecht. Those interested in contributing may do so by sending a check to the Ohio State University at Marion Development Office, 1465 Mount Vernon Avenue, Marion, OH 43302 made out to the Ohio State University Foundation, fund number 315649. Online contributions may also be made at and designating fund 315649.


Gordon Aubrecht’s Ph.D. was from Princeton University (where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow) in particle physics. Aubrecht was a teacher of university-level physics for more than 40 years and taught over 340 undergraduate and graduate courses. Aubrecht ran around 50 local, national, and international workshops for high school and college teachers and published around a hundred scientific articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings. He lived in Delaware (Ohio) with his wife.

Aubrecht performed physics education research. He was interested in classroom assessment, student inquiry, and exposure of students to contemporary physics concepts. He served on the steering committees of national/international conferences. He was a founding member of the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP); he served as CPEP chair emeritus. CPEP produced spectacular classroom charts for particle, plasma, and nuclear physics, and cosmology.

Aubrecht is author of the college-level physics textbook, Energy (3rd ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2006) as well as author and / or editor of about a dozen other books.

Aubrecht was a secretary of IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 14, and Executive Secretary of the InterAmerican Council on Physics Education. Aubrecht was a fellow of AAAS, AAPT, and APS. He received the AAPT Distinguished Service Citation, the Hart Award of the Southern Ohio Section-AAPT, and the Maxwell Award from the Ohio Section-APS. He was named an American Physical Society Distinguished Referee for 2014.

Aubrecht was active in faculty governance before and after retirement. He was a member and/or the chair of several Ohio State regular and ad hoc committees. He served on the Regional Campus Faculty Council for over 25 years, serving as chair or cochair many times. He was a University Senator from the Marion Campus twice and most recently was the OSU Senate Scribe. Aubrecht was on the Board of the OSU Chapter of AAUP for three decades, previously serving as president, Committee A member, and newsletter editor. The Chapter presented him its Louis Nemzer Award in 2004. Aubrecht received the Distinguished Faculty Service award from Ohio State in 2008. Aubrecht was named Professor Emeritus in 2013.

Professor Emeritus, Columbus Campus

October 26, 1944 - May 20, 2016

John Dimmick was born in Williamsport, IN, October 26, 1944, son of Arthur Dimmick and Clara Janet Miller; John was raised by his aunt and uncle, Rod and Irene Dimmick; he received his BA at Indiana University, Bloomington 1966, MA, 1968; PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1973. He was a radio announcer, newscaster at Station WBIW Radio, Bedford, IN, 1964-65; production assistant at Station WLWI TV Indianapolis, 1963; announcer Station WTTS-WTTV Radio, Bloomington, 1965-66; announcer, narrator University of Michigan TV ctr. Ann Arbor, 1970-72; member faculty University Illinois, Chicago, 1972-77, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 1977-2011. Author: Media Competition and Coexistence: The Theory of the Niche, 2003 (award, 2004); contributor of articles to professional journals; Member Air Force ROTC, 1962-64. Member: Association for Education, Journalism and Mass Communication (member of management, and economics division 1990--). Associate Professor Emeritus Communication to the Emeritus Academy of the Ohio State University.

John continues to be a member of Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World since 2007. In 2012 John formed a consulting business Media Competition Research Group LLC with 3 other colleagues: Alan Albarran, John Feaster and James Li. Above all John was a dedicated communication educator, devoted to his graduate students and kept in touch as much as possible with them.

Published in The Columbus Dispatch, June 14, 2016

Professor Emeritus, Columbus campus

David Goss passed away on April 5, 2017.

David received his PhD in 1977 from Harvard where he worked with Barry Mazur.  He held positions at Princeton, Berkeley, and Brandeis before joining the OSU Mathematics faculty in 1982. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1984, and to Professor in 1991.  Over his tenure at Ohio State, he served on many Departmental and University Committees, and guided the Department as Chair from 2006 to 2010. From 2011-12, he served on the Senate Fiscal Committee and was chair of the committee in 2012-13. He retired in 2013 and became Professor Emeritus. He was appointed to the Emeritus Academy thereafter.

David's research was in algebraic number theory and algebraic geometry, where he made extensive contributions to the arithmetic theory of function fields, publishing some 40 academic papers and a book. He had three doctoral students.

He became an editor of the Journal of Number Theory in 1988 and then served as Editor-in-Chief of that journal for over fifteen years. In 2012, he was named to be a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

David's warmth and energy contributed greatly to the life of the Mathematics Department and the University. He will be missed.

Professor Emeritus, Law

December 16, 1935 - February 29, 2016

Sheldon W. Halpern, the C. William O’Neill Professor of Law and Judicial Administration Emeritus, died on Feb. 26 at the age of 80. He taught courses in copyright, trademark, defamation, privacy, and contracts. He joined the Ohio State law faculty after a 25-year legal career that included partnership in law firms in New York and Minnesota and positions as vice president and general counsel for two large, publicly held corporations.

“Sheldon was an extraordinary man with a deep love for life,” said Alan C. Michaels, dean and Edwin M. Cooperman Chair in Law. “Sometimes it was hard to believe that a musician who paid his way through school by playing gigs in the Catskills and the precise, forceful scholar of copyright and defamation law were the same person.  That was Sheldon though, and that special individual will be missed by all of us who knew him.”

A graduate of Cornell University and Cornell Law School, Halpern begin his career in law teaching at Ohio State in 1984 as an associate professor. He took emeritus status in 2005, but continued to teach as the Harold R. Tyler, Jr., Chair in Law and Technology at Albany Law School and as a visiting professor around the globe until 2014.

Professor Halpern published numerous articles on the law of copyright, the law of defamation, the rights of privacy and publicity, and contract law. He was the author of several books, most recently Harmonising Copyright Law and Dealing with Dissonance: a Framework for Convergence of US and EU Law (Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd., 2014) (with Phillip Johnson). Other books include Copyright Law: Protection of Original Expression (Carolina Academic Press, 3rd. ed. 2015); and Fundamentals of United States Intellectual Property Law (Kluwer Law International, 5th ed. 2015) (with Seymore and Port); and The Law of Defamation, Privacy, Publicity and Moral Right: Cases and Materials on the Protection of Personality Interests (Anderson Publishing Company, 4th ed. 2000). His most influential law review articles were published in the Hastings Law JournalNorth Carolina Law ReviewOhio State Law JournalVanderbilt Law ReviewUniversity of Pennsylvania Law Review, among others.

Professor Halpern was an elected Life Member of the American Law Institute. In 2014 he was elected to the Emeritus Academy at The Ohio State University.

He is survived by his wife, Dorit Samuel, and his daughter, Michaela Halpern.

Posted from the Moritz College of Law webpage

Professor Emeritus, Columbus campus

Donald's lifelong journey peacefully ended surrounded by family and dearest friends on March 29, 2016. Donald Harris was an American composer born April 7, 1931, in St. Paul, Minnesota to the late Barney and Hattie Harris. Donald served as an administrator at the New England Conservatory of Music (1967-77) and as Dean of the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford (1977-88), before becoming Dean of the College of the Arts and professor of music at The Ohio State University (1988-1997). After a thirty-year career as a senior-level administrator in higher education and the arts, he stepped down as Dean and rejoined the OSU faculty in composition. Harris earned his bachelors and master's degrees in composition from The University of Michigan, where he was a student of Ross Lee Finney. He continued his studies with Lukas Foss, Boris Blacher, Nadia Boulanger and Max Deutsch. From 1954 until 1968, Harris lived in Paris where, among other things, he was music consultant to the United States Information Service and produced the city's first postwar Festival of Contemporary American Music.

Harris has received numerous commissions, including the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Radio France, and the Cleveland Orchestra, to name a few. He is co-editor of the W. W. Norton publication of the correspondence between Alban Berg and Arnold Schoenberg, for which he received an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award (1989). He was honored with an award in composition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1991). A documentary about Harris entitled "Sonata 1957" was produced by Daniel Beliavsky in 2011. It explores Harris' development in mid-20th-century Paris, when pre-war musical thought bridged with post-war experimentation. Donald was honored by The King Arts Complex with a Legends & Legacies award in October 2011. He received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from OSU in June 2012. Harris is past president of The International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD) and served on the boards of BalletMet, Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Martin Luther King Center. He was currently serving on the board of The Johnstone Fund for New Music. Harris was twice honored with the OSU School of Music's Distinguished Service Award "in recognition of the trailblazing contributions and the dedicated service provided to the music profession and the arts community as a composer, professor and arts administrator."

Aside from all the accolades and awards bestowed upon Donald, he will be remembered by most as a genuine, kind man who was a mentor to many. Donald is survived by his loving wife Marilyn; sons Daniel Yves (Tracy) and Jeremy William (Aileen); daughters Leanne Moulton of Amherst, MA, and Kristine (Bob) Phillips of Stratford, CT; grandchildren Marc, Spencer, Sophia and Amelia Harris, Aubrey Mae Moulton, and Carrie Phillips; great-granddaughter Marleigh Hope; brother L.R. "Buddy" (Natalie) Harris of Palm Springs, CA. and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by brother, Jim Harris.

Professor Emeritus, Columbus campus

Sills Grayce M. Sills (nee McVeigh), age 89, passed away peacefully on April 3, 2016 at Kobacker House surrounded by family and friends. Preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Edythe McVeigh (nee Smith), beloved partner Sharon Huesman, sister Mable McVeigh Arnold, brothers Emil Clifton McVeigh and James Lester McVeigh and nephew Mike Arnold. She is joyfully remembered by her daughter, Kathleen Sills of Concord, MA; grandchildren, Talia and Sage Hahn of Concord, MA; nephews and nieces, Walter Arnold Jr., (Sue) of St. Petersburg, FL., Judy Arnold of Indianapolis, IN, Mark Arnold Sr. (Carol) of Pickerington, OH, Timothy Arnold of Baltimore, OH, Ruth Ann McVeigh Corder (Robert) of Cary, NC, James McVeigh (Imozelle) of Chula Vista, CA; and many cousins, grandnieces, grandnephews, friends and colleagues. A celebration of life service will be held on June 4, 2016 at The Fawcett Center on the Ohio State University campus from 2-4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to one of the following: The Grayce M. Sills Professorship at OSU (#606617) or The Grayce M. Sills Archive Endowment Fund at OSU (#646610). Arrangements by TIDD FUNERAL HOME, Hilliard, Ohio. Grayce's full obituary can be found at: and also at:

Published in the Columbus Dispatch on April 9, 2016

Professor Emeritus, Columbus campus

Feb. 23, 1941 - Apr. 9, 2017

Gary Steigman received his undergraduate degree in Physics from the City College of New York and his PhD in Theoretical Physics from New York University. After postdoctoral research positions at Cambridge University and Caltech he joined the faculty of the Astronomy Department at Yale University before moving on to a research faculty position with the Bartol Research Foundation of the Franklin Institute. In 1986 Steigman left Bartol to accept a joint appointment as Professor of Physics and Professor of Astronomy at The Ohio State University. In 1992 he was a winner of the OSU Distinguished Scholar Award and in 2005 Steigman was named an OSU Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Professor Steigman was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania (1980-1986), a Humboldt Senior Scientist Awardee at the Max Planck Institute and the University of Munich (1991), and held Visiting Professorships at Stanford University (1979), the University of Chicago (1983), and at the University of Sao Paulo (2008). He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society (1991) and in 2004 Steigman won the William A. Fowler Award of the Ohio Section of the American Physical Society.

After 26 years at The Ohio State University, Professor Steigman retired (from teaching and faculty meetings, but not from research!) in 2012. He became an OSU Emeritus Professor and, more recently, Academy Professor, having been elected a member of the Emeritus Academy in 2015.

Steigman’s research on Particle-Astrophysics and Cosmology used the Universe and its constituents to probe the fundamental interactions of particle physics at the highest energies and the smallest scales. Studying of the evolution of the Universe and of the exotic objects in it enabled him to constrain models of physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics in a manner that was complementary to the constraints inferred from current and future accelerator experiments. In Steigman’s research he often used the combination of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis and the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation to simultaneously probe cosmology and to constrain non-standard models of particle physics and of cosmology.

Professor Steigman served OSU as well as the larger research community. He served on the Editorial Board of the peer-reviewed Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. Building on his personal connections with physicists and astronomers in Brazil, Steigman served on the Faculty Advisory Council for the OSU Gateway Initiative in Brazil.

Professor Emeritus, Columbus campus

Published in The Columbus Dispatch on July 5, 2019

Zacher, Christian (1941 - 2019)

Christian Keeler Zacher was born in Clayton, MO. His family moved to Chicago’s South Shore when he was an infant. He enjoyed a storied childhood between the Chicago lakefront and the Gallinas Canyon in New Mexico. Jesuit educated at Loyola High School and The College of the Holy Cross, after receiving his PhD at University of California at Riverside, he accepted a teaching position in Ohio State’s Department of English in 1968 where he was employed for 44 years. Zacher presided over the New Chaucer Society (1990-1997), OSU’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center (1984-1992), The Ohio State Columbus Quincentenary (1984-1992), The OSU Faculty Club, and served two terms as secretary of the OSU Faculty Senate (2006-2012). Zacher served on the OSU Athletic Council and was recognized in 2005 with the OSU Distinguished Service Award for his “initiative to make things happen, dedicating himself to the university and producing tangible results . . . his attention to the details of reality, his creative vision of possibility, and his quiet, effective style of leadership.”

As a perpetual connector between colleagues, Zacher established Ohio State’s Institute for Collaborative Research and Public Humanities, a research center, and served as its director for 13 years until he retired (1998-2011). The Humanities Institute fostered the research of countless OSU scholars and visitors, including re-establishing Ohio Chautauqua with the Ohio Humanities Council, OSU Literacy Studies, and The Big Picture Series with the Columbus Museum of Art. In 2006, Zacher was awarded the Ohio Humanities Council’s Bjornson Award for Distinguished Service in the Public Humanities.

His ambitious publication of the Encyclopedia of the American Midwest, co-edited with Richard Sisson and Drew Cayton, garnered the support of more than half a million dollars from state and corporate sources, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities. Zacher subsequently accepted the request of the OSU Board of Trustees to write the record of the Holbrook Years 2002-2007, which chronicles the tenure of Karen Holbrook, OSU’s 13th president.  His forthcoming publication with Morris Beja, Not Even Past, records the history of the OSU Department of English from 1870-2000.

Chris had a special quality of inquiry and curiosity that was contagious.  His scholarship published as Curiosity and Pilgrimage: The Literature of Discovery in Fourteenth-Century England, would foster years of interest in medieval travel writing. A voracious reader, whether considering Roswell’s alien’s, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the Northwoods of Minnesota, or his favorite planet (Mars), Chris traveled from the Middle ages to the Midwest with ease and inspired fascination that he readily shared. His unpublished tales of the behaviors of archetypal sisters, Martha and Sally Lou, taught life-long lessons about good and evil and entertained generations of Zachers.

Chris Zacher is survived by his wife of 27 years, Kay Bea Jones, His sister, Cathie Zacher of Santa Fe, NM, his daughters, Jessica Zacher Pandya (Mihir) of Long Beach, CA, Lydia Zacher Dixon (Pete) of Camarillo, CA, his son, Samuel Zacher of New Haven, CT, and nieces and nephews in Chicago and California. Chris was especially proud of his five grandchildren, Nick Garcia-Zacher, Miki Pandya, Leela Mae Pandya, Juno Azuz-Zacher, and Castor Dixon, who all resemble more Martha than Sally Lou. A devoted father and true Catholic humanist, Chris long believed and demonstrated that “we raise our children to be better than us.”

Professor Emeritus, Columbus campus

Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Jan. 17, 2018

Zakin, Jacques "Jack" (1927 - 2018)
Jacques "Jack" L. Zakin, age 90, passed away on January 16, 2018 may his memory be a blessing. Preceded in death by his parents Max and Ada Zakin, brother Philip Zakin. He is survived by his wife, Laura Zakin; sons, Richard Zakin and his fiancé, Tina Shafer and David Zakin; daughters, Barbara Zakin (Matthew Diebel), Susan Zakin and Emily Zakin; sister, Jane Shweky; grandchildren, Charlie and Lillie Zakin, Allie Zakin, Lydia and George Diebel; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. A professor at Ohio State University for more than 40 years, Jack served as chair of the Chemical Engineering Department for 17 years. He never officially retired, even teaching one course during fall semester 2017. Throughout his academic career, he played an active role in programs seeking to expand the number of women and minorities in engineering and annually contributed generously to his favorite charities. Funeral services will be held at 11am on Thursday, January 18 at Congregation Beth Tikvah, 6121 Olentangy River Rd., Worthington. Interment will follow at Green Lawn – Beth Tikvah. Shiva will be observed at the Zakin residence on Thursday from 4-8pm and Friday from 2-5pm. In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to the Jacques Zakin Award Fund 483239, Ohio State University Foundation, 1480 W. Lane Ave., Columbus 43221, which supports graduate students in chemical engineering or the American Civil Liberties Union (Memorial Gifts). Online guestbook at