Former University of Wisconsin chancellor and chemistry professor Irving Shain died Tuesday at age 92.
Shain started his UW career in 1952, eventually becoming the chair of the Department of Chemistry. He was appointed vice-chancellor for academic affairs in 1970 and held the position for five years before being promoted to chancellor, a job he held for nearly a decade.
While Shain was chancellor he established the School of Veterinary Medicine and oversaw the building of the health sciences complex. Shain also contributed to the creation of University Research Park.
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Current UW chancellor Rebecca Blank admired the work that Shain was able to accomplish during his time at the university.
“Irv was always smart and strategic, while also having a wry sense of humor. His impact on this university is visible more than 30 years after he left,” Blank said. “Irv Shain made UW better in many ways throughout his career on this campus. We will miss him and remember him.”
The Shain Research Tower of the Chemistry building stands to recognize Shain’s many contributions to UW. Shain’s sons John and Paul endowed the Irving Shain Chair in Chemistry in 2016 as a way of supporting the department chair’s research programs.
Beyond the sciences, Shain believed in equal recognition of arts within the university. Shain endowed two different student competitions at the School of Music and was one of the key players behind the creation of a student exchange program between America and China.
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His son, Paul Shain is proud of the legacy his father has left behind.
“[He] really focused around helping other people and creating a lasting legacy called the UW that would ultimately continue to thrive well beyond when he was chancellor,” Shain said.
There will be a public gathering in remembrance of Shain on Monday, March 12. It will be held at Cress Funeral home from 4-7 p.m. Donations can be made to the University of Wisconsin foundation to show support for the Irv Shain Memorial Fund for Chemistry.