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Unveiling the Raymond V. Adams Wall of Honor, from left, are Steven Murray, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; President Milton A. Gordon; and Dan Black, the alumnus after whom Dan Black Hall was named and the benefactor who initiated the Wall of Honor in memory of his former professor. Photo by Kelly Lacefield

Professors' Names Etched in Glass

Faculty Wall Honors Founding Physics Department Chair and All Tenured Science Faculty

November 25, 2008

By Russ L. Hudson

Raymond V. Adams

Black velvet curtains parted in Dan Black Hall on Friday, Nov. 14, to reveal the Raymond V. Adams Faculty Wall of Honor, bearing the names of all 170 tenured faculty members who have influenced students passing through the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The Wall of Honor is named after the founding chair of the Physics Department. Adams, who joined the campus in 1960 and served for 29 years.Adams died in February 2007 at age 86. During his tenure, Adams planned the physical facilities on the sixth floor of McCarthy Hall — the university's first permanent instructional facility — and was responsible for hiring faculty members and developing the physics curriculum.

Adams was influential in the life and career of Dan Black, a 1967 physics graduate who became a highly successful entrepreneur. The hall was named in Black’s honor in 2006 after a $4.6 million donation to NSM, and Black, seeking to honor Adams after he died last year, proposed the Wall of Honor.

"Faculty, this is your day. We thank you for the course you chose and for all the benefits you provided to the students at Cal State Fullerton," said President Milton A. Gordon during the Nov. 14 dedication ceremony. Photo by Kelly Lacefield

Black donated $100,000 for the Ray Adams memorial.

“I took one course from Dr. Adams when I first arrived at Cal State Fullerton,” Black said when the science hall was named after him. ”I thought I was in trouble on the first day of the class. He said, ‘If you don’t like the way I teach, assign homework or grade … take it up with the chairman of the department. I am the chairman of the department.’

At the dedication, Black revealed he got a C in Adams’ class, “but because of him I was fascinated with physics. It came alive. I changed my major to physics. Who gets a C and changes their major? But after the way he taught, I wanted more.”

Steve Murray, NSM dean, also recognized Adams’ approach to teaching during his dedication remarks. “Miles McCarthy (one of the founding faculty who served as acting president of the university in 1980) knew way back, when the university amounted to a few buildings, a handful of faculty and orange trees that close interaction between faculty and students had to be the benchmark for science education.

Steven Murray, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, praised contributions by Raymond Adams and by all the faculty members who followed him.

“McCarthy, Adams and other early faculty reasoned that the fledgling college would emphasize student inquiry and research, so they could see applied science at work," Murray said. "During his 29 years at the university, it was Adams who developed the student-involved physics curriculum and used grant money to design and build laboratories for students’ use."

A corridor just to the west of the main Dan Black Hall entrance holds both the wall and a video screen that eventually will include short biographies on each professor whose name is etched into the glass. The starting and ending years of service accompany the name.

“Each fall there will be more tenured faculty in this college,” Murray said, “and each year names will be added. They will be remembered.”

Emeriti physics professors Fred M. Johnson, left, and Harvey Blend look for their names on the recently dedicated Wall of Honor. Photo by Kelly Lacefield

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