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In Memoriam

September 15, 2011

Drexel celebrates the lives and careers of five members of the University family who passed away this summer.

Dr. F. Elaine DeLancey was associate professor of English and founding editor of BMa: The Sonia Sanchez Literary Review. She died in her home on July 18, 2011.

In her 33 years at Drexel, DeLancey served as a faculty member in the Department of English and as director of the African American Studies and Women’s Studies programs for a number of years. She taught courses in American and African American literature, with a distinct focus on the interplay among science, technology and literature.  The Drexel community and the world at large benefitted from DeLancey’s early appreciation for the work of African American poet Sonia Sanchez. As the foremost scholar on Sanchez, DeLancey championed her importance to the literary community long before most people, making Drexel one of the first universities to honor and teach Sanchez’s work.

George M. Ross was an emeritus trustee, former chairman of the Drexel board, a peerless benefactor of the University and an inspiration for its students. He died on July 8, 2011 at his home in Bryn Mawr at the age of 77.

For more than half a century, Ross took personal responsibility for the success of his alma mater. While building an incredibly successful career at Goldman Sachs & Co., eventually becoming senior director, he served Drexel in both stewardship and philanthropic roles that have left a lasting impact on the University.

He served as chairman of the board in the mid-1990s and oversaw the presidential search that found Constantine Papadakis, Drexel's transformational leader for the next 14 years. LeBow College of Business named Ross its Business Leader of the Year in 1989, and he was an inaugural inductee into The Drexel 100, the University's most prestigious alumni organization, in 1992. He also received an honorary degree in recognition of his service to Drexel in 1999.

Dr. Robert Irby Wise was a former Drexel trustee who died on June 15, 2011 at the age of 96 in Williamsburg, Va. He was very proud of service to the University as a trustee from 1966 to 1975. He served as the Magee Professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and then later as chief of staff of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Togus, Maine. His daughter, Joyce Wise Beene, graduated from Drexel with a master’s degree in Library Science in 1973.

Dr. Guoliang Yang was associate professor in the Department of Physics. He passed away on August 14, 2011 after a brief but intense bout with liver cancer. He was a respected researcher, a dedicated teacher and a warm and humble colleague. His advanced and interdisciplinary courses, which he developed, were well-received by both students and faculty.

Dr. Yang worked in the field of atomic-force single molecule spectroscopy, studying the central problem of protein folding and stability. More recently he was interested in understanding experimentally the effect of crowding in protein properties and in understanding the basic science of the interaction between DNA and proteins in cellular reproduction. He was working collaboratively with other Drexel faculty on projects that productively employed his research techniques.

Elisabeth Papazoglou, associate professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering (BIOMED), lost her battle with cancer on August 17, 2011. Papazoglou is remembered by her colleagues as a rare individual who stood apart from her peers as themodern academic role model, intellectual leader and theideal biomedical engineer.
For BIOMED, Papazoglou led the “skin bioengineering” initiative, specifically in the areas of wound healing, deployment of non-invasive technologies for skin characterization and correlation of spectroscopic and imaging information to skin chemistry.Her team's innovations inskin bioengineering and diagnostics based on bionanotechnologyspun three start-up companies and two of her licenses were instrumental inearning the Coulter Endowment. She was the Students Tackling Advanced Research (STAR) faculty member who played an important part in making the Drexel and Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership Program a national and international success.