The Norman Transcript

July 29, 2009

OU physics and astronomy chair steps down after 19 years

By Julianna Parker Jones

After 19 years of service, Ryan Doezema recently stepped down as chair of the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Oklahoma.

"Ryan Doezema has secured a place in history as one of the most outstanding department chairs ever," said Paul B. Bell Jr., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "For 19 years, he led the department to increasing levels of excellence in teaching and research, while serving as a role model for other chairs on the difficult task of balancing administrative duties with his own research program. Through his extraordinary leadership, he set the bar high for those who follow."

Gregory Parker took over as chair of the department July 1 when Doezema left. Parker is George Lynn Cross professor of physics and astronomy. He has been in the department for 29 years. He said he planned to make only minor changes to the department.

"The department has run quite well, so we're not going to make major changes because Ryan was a very good chair," Parker said. He spoke highly of Doezema's work at OU.

"Doezema's impact on the department is immeasurable," Parker said. "His leadership and encouragement over the past 19 years leave the department and the faculty prepared for the future."

Since becoming chair in 1990, Doezema hired and mentored more than half of the current faculty, which included twice the number of women faculty.

During this time, Doezema oversaw the three-phase renovation project of Nielsen Hall, in which it expanded from 57,000 square feet to 92,000 square feet.

In addition, it was on Doezema's watch that a chance encounter in a hallway of Nielsen hall with the family of another former and long-term chair, Homer L. Dodge, brought about a donation of $6 million, the largest to the college to date, to assist with the renovations, set up the Dodge Prize for undergraduates and the Dodge Fellowship for graduate students, and endow three new chairs to attract top internationally recognized scholars to the department.

In his 19 years as chair, the endowment for the department increased from $335,000 to $4,737,000. Doezema maintained his own research program and contributed to the department's teaching effort.

During his tenure, the physics and astronomy faculty collectively received two George Lynn Cross Professorships, two David Ross Boyd Professorships, 12 Presidential Professorships, two Kinney-Sugg Outstanding Professors in the College of Arts and Sciences, and numerous other awards for teaching and research.

Julianna Parker Jones 366-3541 jparker@normantranscript.com