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Department of

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Emeriti Faculty

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John P. McDermott

Professor Emeritus, Chemistry

John P. McDermott, Professor Emeritus in Chemistry at USD, passed away on May 26, 2006 at the age of 88. Professor McDermott joined the faculty of what was then the USD College for Men in 1960 after a very successful career as a research chemist with Standard Oil of New Jersey. Shortly after his arrival at USD, John was appointed Chairman of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics, a position he held until 1967, when reorganization of the College for Men led to the elimination of the divisional structure. During the time that he chaired the division, John played a pivotal role in shaping the math and science areas at the fledgling university. That these departments have blossomed into among the strongest at the university is due in no small measure to his pioneering efforts. He retired from USD in 1984.

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Jack D. Opdycke

Professor Emeritus, Chemistry

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Donald B. Peterson

Professor Emeritus, Chemistry

Professor Peterson received his BS in Chemistry from Penn State in 1954, and his PhD from the Carnegie Institute of Technology(now Carnegie-Mellon University) in 1958. He was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Leeds University (1958-60) where he worked on the radiation chemistry of water with Sir Fredrick Dainton, FRS. He was an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at McMaster University in Canada (1960-61) and Research Scientist at the University of Notre Dame (1961-1964) before joining the Chemistry faculty at USD in the fall of 1964. He served as chairman of the Department a number of years, and also served two one-year stints as Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Peterson received the Davies Award in 1990. He published more than 20 scientific papers and technical reports during his career. He retired from USD in 1996.

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Sister Patricia Shaffer

Professor Emerita, Chemistry

Faculty member at San Diego College for Women and USD from 1959-1999

She was born in Los Angeles, CA, in 1928, the oldest of five children, and grew up there in L.A. in a middle class family.  Holidays were spent either at the beach or at Griffith Park.  At age 15 she began work in a cookie factory in Glendale, CA.  Then her family moved to a ranch near Sacramento where she learned to harvest fruit and to drive a truck.  She attended Catholic schools all of her life and in her junior year of college at San Francisco College for Women she decided to enter the convent (Society of the Sacred Heart).  She completed her noviceship in Albany, NY, made her first vows and returned to San Francisco to complete her college degree.  She taught primarily high school for 5 years at the Sacred Heart School in Menlo Park, CA.  In February, 1957, she went to Rome to prepare for her final vows made in July, and returned to Menlo Park, CA, where she studied at Stanford University.  In September, 1959, she joined the faculty at San Diego College for Women.  Except for a 3-year leave of absence to complete her doctoral degree and a few sabbaticals she has taught primarily in the Department of Chemistry until her retirement in 1999.

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Patricia S. Traylor

Professor Emerita, Chemistry