In Memoriam


University Professor Ronald C.D. Breslow, a trailblazing chemist who led the creation of the field of biomimetic chemistry and developed the cancer drug Zolinza, died on October 25, 2017. He was 86. 

Photo of Ronald C.D. Breslow

Joe Pineiro

University Professor Ronald C.D. Breslow, a trailblazing chemist who led the creation of the field of biomimetic chemistry and developed the cancer drug Zolinza, died on October 25, 2017. He was 86. Breslow was a Columbia College instructor for more than 60 years and was instrumental in the College’s move to coeducation. Born on March 14, 1931, Breslow grew up in Rahway, N.J., and earned an A.B. in chemistry, an A.M. in biochemistry and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, all from Harvard. He did his doctoral research with renowned chemist R.B. Woodward and spent a postdoctoral year in Cambridge, England, as a National Research Council Fellow with Nobel Prize-winning chemist Lord Alexander Robertus Todd before coming to Columbia in 1956. Breslow became the Samuel Latham Mitchill Professor of Chemistry and chaired the Department of Chemistry 1976–79. In 1992, he was named University Professor, the University’s highest academic honor, granted in recognition of exceptional scholarly merit and contributions to Columbia. Breslow was the 1969 recipient of the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching, a 1980 recipient of a Great Teacher Award, a 2016 recipient of an Alexander Hamilton Medal and the 2016 recipient of the Michael Pupin Medal for Service to the Nation in Science, Technology or Engineering. A memorial service was held in NYC in October.

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Photo of Danielle Haase-Dubosc

Danielle Haase-Dubosc BC’59, GSAS’69, executive director of Reid Hall, now the Columbia Global Center | Paris, 1990–2017, and director, 1976–90, died in Paris on November 12, 2017. Haase-Dubosc was also associate provost of the University 1987–2010. Born in Paris on April 19, 1939, Haase-Dubosc earned a doctorate in 17th-century comparative literature from GSAS. As an assistant professor of French and Romance philology at Barnard, she was asked in 1975 to manage Columbia programs at Reid Hall. At the time, the 18th-century Paris building, left to Columbia in 1964, had not been well integrated into the Columbia curriculum and its sale was actively envisaged. Haase-Dubosc set up programs of study in a wide range of subjects. A believer in cultural immersion, she had her students admitted to Paris university courses and eased transitions with special mentoring. The success of these programs spared Reid Hall from sale and enriched generations of Columbia students intellectually and culturally. Haase-Dubosc, who was bilingual and held joint citizenship, dealt adroitly with both French and American academia. She maintained an active scholarly life as well, publishing and speaking on literary and gender subjects. She is survived by her husband, Dominique Dubosc; brother, Gerald Haase-Dubosc; children, Oliver Gloag and Vanessa Delvaux; stepdaughters, Sophie Dubosc and Anna Dubosc; and three grandchildren. A memorial service was held at Reid Hall in December. A service will be held on Columbia’s campus at a date to be announced.

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Char Smullyan GS’98

Peter V. Johnson, who worked at Columbia for more than 35 years and most recently was director of enrollment group special projects and special assistant to the dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, died on November 6, 2017. Johnson’s career in higher education began in 1971 at his alma mater, Earlham College, where he worked with the Upward Bound program. He was at Hampshire College for a decade, serving in Residential Life before beginning his career in college admissions. He came to Columbia in 1982 to be assistant dean of student affairs for the College; through seven years in that role, he established his reputation as an educational leader and mentor. Service to others was the hallmark of his 27 years in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, especially in his commitment to lifting up under-resourced and under-represented students. In 2016, Johnson received the Black Alumni Council Heritage Award, which honors individuals who have made considerable contributions to the community and to their respective fields. Johnson was a fervent supporter of the Lions for many years. As an athletics liaison, he worked closely with coaches, supported prospective athletes through the admissions process and was Columbia’s representative to the Ivy League. Johnson is survived by his wife, Jo, and daughters, Zenzele Johnson and Joya Powell ’01. A memorial service was held on campus in December.

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