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Passages: Stuart H. Palmer and Karen Von Damm

September 3, 2008

Former COLA Dean

Stuart H. Palmer, former dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor emeritus of sociology, died August 26 at his home in Durham. He was 84.

A memorial service will be held at the university in the fall. The date has not yet been set.

“I remember him as a strong leader who always had the best interest of the college and its faculty in mind,” said Kenneth Fuld, interim dean of COLA.

Born in New York City, N.Y. on April 29, 1924, Palmer was the son of Herman and Beatrice (Hunter) Palmer. Raised in New York, he had lived in the city and also on the Hudson River, prior to moving to Durham in 1955.

From 1942 to 1945, he served in the US Air Force. and from 1951-1953 he served in the US Air Force in Korea. He held the rank of 1st Lt. and was captain at the time of his discharge.

Palmer graduated from Cromwell-on-the-Hudson and did undergraduate and graduate studies at Yale. He received his Ph. D in sociology, specializing in criminology.

In 1955, Palmer came to UNH as a criminologist; he published 12 books dealing with the analysis of homicides. He was dean of COLA from 1982 until he retired in 1997.

In lieu of flowers, should friends desire, memorials may be made to the UNH Alumni Association.

Visit www.kentandpelczarfh.com to sign an online guestbook.

Chemical Oceanography Professor

On Friday, Aug. 15, Karen Von Damm, a professor of chemical oceanography, died after a four-month battle with liver cancer. She was 53.

A world-renowned researcher in marine geochemistry, Von Damm received her B.S. degree in geology and geophysics from Yale University in 1977. Her graduate studies were done at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Massachusetts Institute of Technology joint program in oceanography. She received her Ph.D. in oceanography from Woods Hole in 1983.

She joined the UNH faculty as a professor and a researcher at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space. Von Damm earned international renown for her research in geochemistry and was one of the world's leading authorities on oceanic hydrothermal vent systems. 

"Karen was a world class scientist and an integral part of many educational programs on campus - she will be sorely missed,” said Will Clyde, associate professor and chairman of the department of Earth sciences. “Karen stood for excellence in all she did and that is a wonderful legacy to leave behind at an academic institution." 

Her research was fundamental to defining the basic chemistry of the oceans.  For her longstanding and excellent research and service contributions to the scientific community, Von Damm was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2002, and just this year was elected as a Fellow of both the European Association of Geochemistry and The Geochemical Society. 

A service is being planned for September. Contributions can be sent to the Karen Von Damm Memorial Scholarship fund, department of Earth sciences, James Hall.

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