Requiem for a Heavyweight
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creativity and brilliance revolutionized chemistry, opening the
doors to new worlds of discovery.
You Can't Take it With You, the Pulitzer-winning 1936
Kaufman and Hart Broadway standard, the main character, Grandpa
Vanderhof, is big on advice.
what is in your heart," he tells a visitor to his home, "and
you carry in yourself a revolution."
know whether Donald Cram, cast in a lead role in the play while
a junior chemistry major at Florida's Rollins College in 1940, ever
took those literal words to heart. It hardly matters. Since his
death June 17 from cancer at age 82, an outpouring of testimonials
from Cram's global gallery of friends and colleagues has underscored
the inescapable fact that he lived that corny-sounding credo to
death, it seemed that the UCLA community mourned more than just
the passing of a Nobel laureate, recipient of the National Medal
of Science and one of the world's true giants of biochemical research.
University Professor of Chemistry M. Frederick Hawthorne Ph.D. '53,
one of Cram's first graduate students (among more than 200 he mentored
in his 52 years in Westwood), lauded his "brilliant creativity,
integrity and enthusiasm for life and science." William M.
Gelbart, chair of chemistry and biochemistry, praised Cram for his
"extremely high standards" and the legacy "for doing
creative work" that he left to his students. Chancellor Albert
Carnesale called Cram "a marvelous teacher and energetic presence
? who honored us by being part of the UCLA family."
thousands of undergraduate students lucky enough to get into one
of his classes, Cram will be remembered fondly for his trademark
bow ties, impish humor and the infectious enthusiasm he brought
to his lectures. An avid surfer -- he was known as "Crambo"
to his buddies at San Onofre's Old Mans Beach -- and mountain-climber,
he dropped his share of extreme-sport metaphors in his day. And
he wasn't above capping a class by producing his guitar and belting
out a folk tune.