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Vernon Bulgrin* - 2004 - Outstanding Former Faculty
Chemistry Department“Those of us who knew Vern very much miss him,” said Professor Lewis Noe, Department of Chemistry. “He was an exceptional instructor, a friend, and a colleague whose input and counsel on all kinds of matters was constantly sought after and highly valued.” Vernon Bulgrin’s UW career began in 1953, and he served the university for more than 31 years. Bulgrin was head of the department from 1961 to 1967. During his tenure, Bulgrin helped improve the teaching and research atmosphere of the Department of Chemistry, and he had a major influence on the decision to increase teaching assistant stipends in an effort to obtain outstanding graduate students.
In addition, Bulgrin played a crucial role in the design of the Physical Sciences Building and endeavors to procure major instrumentation for the labs. An exceptional instructor, Bulgrin offered courses in general chemistry, physical chemistry, reaction kinetics, and chemical thermodynamics.
In 1980, he received the john P. Ellbogen Award for Meritorious Classroom Teaching. The Wyoming Section of the American Chemical Society honored Bulgrin’s dedication to teaching, in 2001, by endowing a fund for the Vernon C. Bulgrin Award for High School Chemistry Teaching in Wyoming.
Bulgrin’s former students remember him fondly as an excellent teacher who also was a caring human being. Professor James J. Worman, Rochester Institute of Technology is among those former students who remember Bulgrin fondly. He noted; “Professor Bulgrin’s steady coaching and support for many of us kept us on an even keel and allowed us to move forward and contribute to the academic and industrial environments.”
“Not only was Vern Bulgrin an excellent teacher, he was also fair,” commented Professor George Lookhart, Kansas State University. “I remember one time in my graduate career-I questioned him about a grade he gave to a fellow graduate student. That grade forced the student out of graduate school. I was a bit upset about it. Vern took me into his office and showed me the test scores and asked me what grade I would have assigned. I agreed with him that the student deserved an F! Vern did not get upset with me, but asked me to be sure that I know the facts and ask the right questions before I acted. That lesson has been one I have long remembered. He taught me by example and by letting me make mistakes and correct them.”
Professor John C. Gilbert, University of Texas, Austin, describes Bulgrin’s teaching style as enthusiastic. He commented, “Professor Bulgrin was a key asset for the department during the time I was a student there, and I know that he continued to make valuable contributions to it in both teaching and administrative roles long after I graduated. In many ways, I think he was responsible for laying the groundwork for the impressive status that the department enjoys today.”
*In loving memory.