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Passages: Bill Randall memorial service, April 14

March 21, 2013

  • Professor Bill Randall in his early teaching days at Lewis & Clark

A memorial service for Bill Randall, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, will be held on Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m. in Agnes Flanagan Chapel.

Bill was a graduate of Willamette University, where he majored in chemistry and earned his baccalaureate degree in 1960. He went on to earn his master’s (1963) and PhD (1969) at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Bill joined the Lewis & Clark faculty in 1964 and served for 43 years before retiring in 2007. After retirement, he continued to serve for several years as pre-med advisor for CAS students. Bill was known as a deeply devoted teacher. His courses in analytic, inorganic, and general chemistry were legendary for daunting standards and heavy workloads. At the same time, Bill devoted countless hours of time outside of class to helping students understand the material. 

Alumna Nerissa Koehn, Class of 1995, told a story about Bill‘s dedication to students at the Alumni Honors Banquet in 2002 when she received the Outstanding Young Alumna Award. For a number of years Bill lived as a faculty resident in Stewart Hall. Nerissa recounted how she and a friend, in a high state of anxiety before a chemistry exam, knocked on Professor Randall’s door late at night. He welcomed them in for a tutoring session. Nerissa went on to graduate from Harvard Medical School, so needless to say, she mastered the material.

From the 1970s on, Bill made a point of engaging students in his research and having them present their work at regional conferences. Bill himself was very active in the Portland section of the American Chemical Society. Over the years, he served as chair, treasurer, and executive committee member for that organization.

Bill was an avid gardener. For many years he spent his weekends and summers tending a vast garden at his family’s homestead in Cottage Grove. When he moved into one of the College-owned houses on Palatine Hill Road, he put much of the yard under cultivation and produced bountiful harvests which he shared with family and friends.

Bill was preceded in death by his two older brothers. He is survived by his sister, Ivona Schacker, her husband Don, and their children—one of whom, Sarah Schacker, graduated from Lewis & Clark in 1993.