William D. Huntsman
Mar 8, 2011
By George Mauzy
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry William D. Huntsman died March 4, in Columbus, Ohio.
The 86-year-old former professor began working at Ohio University in 1951 after earning his Ph.D. in 1950 from Northwestern University. He completed his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Ohio University in 1947 after a brief time in the U.S. Navy.
Huntsman spent his entire academic career at Ohio University and was named a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in 1968. He served as chair of the Department of Chemistry, 1963-68, was a two-time winner of the Dean's Outstanding Teacher Award (1982, 1993) and won the Grasselli Teaching Award in 1991. He also was one of the founders of the Chemistry Ph.D. program in the 1960s.
"Bill was a remarkable teacher," said Dave Hendricker, a retired professor of chemistry who was hired by Huntsman in 1965. "My son Alan majored in chemistry and said Bill was the best chemistry professor he ever had. Bill was kind of a quiet man, but highly respected."
Huntsman's research was in the physical-organic chemistry areas with a special emphasis on the high temperature reactions of certain hydrocarbons. He received research grants from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Science Foundation, Petroleum Research Fund of the ACS and the Ohio University Research Fund.
Lauren McMills, assistant chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said she once taught a general chemistry class with Huntsman and learned a lot from him.
"I remember that his students adored him and his class evaluations were always top notch," McMills said. "He was an excellent researcher. He was the complete package and just a wonderful person. He will be missed."
Huntsman was a member of the American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Alpha Chi Sigma, and was an honorary member of the Blue Key Society.
A native of Washington County, Ohio, Huntsman is survived by his wife, Rosemary Cooper, a son and a daughter and two stepsons. He also leaves behind 12 grandchildren and two sisters.
Monetary contributions in Huntsman's honor can be made to The Bill Huntsman Award for Organic Chemistry Students through the Ohio University Development Office.