Chemist Joan Shields Dies At 73 | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: April 16, 2008

Chemist Joan Shields Dies At 73

Dedicated educator served ACS in many leadership roles
Department: ACS News
Credit: C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University
Credit: C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University

Joan E. Shields , a professor emerita and former chair of the chemistry department at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University, N.Y., died suddenly on April 10. She was 73 years old.

"We will all remember Joan Shields for her fierce dedication to excellence in every area: excellence in teaching, excellence in research, excellence in student achievement," says Katherine Hill-Miller, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at C. W. Post.

Throughout her career, Shields held many key leadership positions in ACS governance. She was an ACS Board member from 1995 to 2002 and served as chair of the board from 1996 to 1998. She was a member or chair of dozens of ACS committees, governing boards, and task forces, and at the time of her death, she was a member of the Board Committee on Audits and the Committee on Pensions & Investments. "Joan was a remarkable teacher, mentor, and friend," ACS Executive Director and CEO Madeleine Jacobs says. "She had a profound influence on ACS through her many years of dedicated service and on all of the people who knew her and had the good fortune to work with her."

Born in Cambridge, Mass., Shields earned a bachelor???s degree in chemistry from Regis College in Weston, Mass., a master???s in chemistry from Tufts University in Boston, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Boston College. An organic chemist, she was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute in Mulheim, Germany. During her time there, she met Jan Kopecky, whom she would later marry.

Shields joined the faculty of C. W. Post as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1968 and became a full professor in 1974. She served as chair of the chemistry department there from 1987 until her retirement from teaching in 2007. Shields remained involved at C. W. Post after her retirement, working closely with freshmen in the College 101 introductory class and serving as chair of the Pre-Health Professions Advisement Committee.

Shields authored four books and 34 scientific papers. She was a member of the board of directors of the Chemical Heritage Foundation and an emeritus member of ACS, which she joined in 1957.

"Joan Shields???s passing is a great loss to me personally and to the C. W. Post community," says C. W. Post Provost Joseph Shenker. "She made a profound impact on this campus and on thousands of students over the years. We will miss her very much, and we will work to live up to the example she set as a scholar, a teacher, and a friend."

Shields is survived by a sister, Irene Peters; a nephew, Michael Alfano, whom she raised after her sister, Lorraine Alfano, died in 1962; and a grandnephew, Hunter Alfano. Shields's husband died of cancer in 1992.

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