Early in the morning of May 20, 2016 Jane Crosby passed away. She was 88 years old. Jane’s contributions to the Division of Chemical Education, to the American Chemical Society, and to chemical education in general were myriad. Her unstinting dedication to children and students, to teachers, and to bringing together everyone who could contribute to chemical education were unmatched. Without Jane’s efforts more than a quarter century ago DivCHED would be a much less effective organization today.
Jane actively supported chemical education in the Washington-Idaho Border ACS Local Section, at Washington State University, and through Northwest Regional ACS Meetings. Jane’s work was always intertwined with that of her husband, Glenn A. Crosby—so inextricably that it is impossible to attribute any of their contributions to one or the other alone. Jane and Glenn organized educational programs for high school teachers and pre-college students as well as mentoring ACS Student Affiliates (now Student Members) at Washington State University. They organized Northwest Regional ACS Meetings and encouraged chemical education programming at regional ACS meetings throughout the country. They initiated a fundraising effort to endow what are now ACS Regional Awards for Excellence in High School Teaching. During the 1990s Jane and Glenn organized and mentored Operation Progress workshops for high school teachers at Biennial Conferences on Chemical Education and set up symposia at regional meetings where Operation Progress participants could share their post-workshop experiences. Wherever there was a perceived need in the field of chemical education Jane and Glenn could be found generating ideas and bringing them to fruition. In 2006 Jane received the DivCHED Outstanding Service Award and in 2009 Jane and Glenn were jointly honored by receipt of the Charles Lathrop Parsons Award for service to the ACS.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s DivCHED underwent a transformation that involved a new model for programming at national meetings, enhanced efforts to recruit new members from outside a group of “old tigers”, and a new level of activities at national and biennial conferences. Jane was at the center of these changes. When Glenn became DivCHED Program Chair in 1978 Jane began a newsletter that was distributed with each set of national meeting abstracts. Division members could exchange information rather than just see what papers would be presented at the next meeting. That newsletter continued for many years and eventually became this website. In addition, for many years we shared with Jane and Glenn a hotel suite that provided a place for Division members and others to relax, develop collaborations and friendships, learn about DivCHED, and exchange views. The Hospitality Suites recruited many new faces to participate in Division activities.
We hope that Jane Crosby’s example will spur current DivCHED members to renew their efforts to reach out to groups outside the traditional membership and encourage the broadest possible range of participation in chemical education activities. Those who would like to make a more concrete contribution in Jane’s memory can donate to the Jane L. Crosby Scholarship Fund at Waynesburg University. Send a check made out to “Jane L. Crosby Scholarship Fund” to Ashley Mason, Institutional Advancement, Waynesburg University, 51 College Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370.
University of Wisconsin-Madison