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Laurens Anderson -- Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumnus
Bachelor of Science -- 1942 -- Chemistry
"My Wyoming education was my opening to the future," says Laurens Anderson, who, at a young age, knew chemistry was in that future. "I don't know how I came to be fascinated by chemistry, other than by reading labels on cans and bottles of kitchen, laundry, and garden products, but I do know the fascination was strong."
After studies at UW, he served in WWII with the Army Air Force, then went on to earn the MS and PhD in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. He joined Wisconsin's faculty in 1951, and served until retiring in 1986. He was Steenbeck Professor of Biomolecular Structure at Wisconsin from 1981-86. His research in the structure of biologically important molecules, particularly sugars, has been published in more than 90 scientific journal articles. He's been an active and respected member of the American Chemical Society's Wisconsin section and its Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry, and has received the ACS Claude S. Hudson Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry.
His montage of UW memories includes, "Picnics at Vedauwoo, dances in the gym, traveling as a varsity debater, ice skating with my girlfriend at the municipal rink, and life in the Alpha Kappa Iota (later Acacia) house."
He was a founding member of that fraternity. "I saw the University as a place to explore a broader intellectual world than the one I'd known. I'm happy to say my expectations were fulfilled. The UW Chemistry Department then was modest -- three or four full time faculty -- but they were competent, sincere, and offered a solid major with plenty of personal attention to the small coterie of chemistry students. Exposure to a variety of subjects broadened our intellectual horizons, and gave us a sense of being ready for the next step. My major professor at Wisconsin often remarked on the soundness of my undergraduate preparation."