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Theodore Roosevelt Williams

by Rachel Petkewich
December 12, 2005 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 83, Issue 50


Theodore Roosevelt Williams, professor of chemistry at the College of Wooster, in Ohio, for more than four decades, died on Nov. 11 following a period of declining health. He was 75.

Affectionately known as Ted, Williams was nationally known for his research as well as his commitment to making science more accessible to women and minorities. His efforts were recognized shortly after his retirement in 2001, when he was chosen to receive the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring.

Born on Oct. 23, 1930, Williams received his bachelor's degree from Howard University, his master's degree from Pennsylvania State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut, all in chemistry.

Williams, who was named the Robert E. Wilson Professor of Chemistry at Wooster in 1988, published many articles in the area of analytical chemistry and served ACS in a variety of capacities.

As a researcher, Williams focused on human eye tissues, working to develop new techniques that would identify disease in the lens and cornea. As an educator, he was a leading proponent of discovery-based learning for those interested in science. As a person, he became a larger-than-life figure on campus.

"Ted Williams was one of only 21 members of the faculty who taught at Wooster for more than 40 years and was well-known to many generations of Wooster students," says R. Stanton Hales, president of the College of Wooster.

He is survived by his wife, Yvonne (Carter), a former professor in Wooster's departments of black studies and political science and dean of the faculty from 1989 to 1993, and four daughters.

Obituaries are written by Rachel Petkewich. Obituary notices may be sent to and should include detailed educational and professional history.



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