HERBERT EUGENE LONGENECKER
| Visit Guest Book
LONGENECKER, HERBERT EUGENE President Emeritus of Tulane University, scientist, educator, and community leader, died September 18, 2010 in Birmingham, Alabama, his home since 1983. He was 98. Born May 6, 1912 in Lititz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Longenecker was the third son of educators Abraham Sandoe and Mary Ellen Herr Longenecker. His parents were Mennonites whose family roots in America were established with William Penn's founding of Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. Longenecker's father was superintendent of the Lititz school system at the time of his premature death in 1914. His mother Mary Ellen continued to support her family as a teacher. By age 10, Longenecker worked a paper route and in a neighbor's commercial greenhouse. He later played on the Lititz High School football team and in its orchestra and band. He graduated from high school in May 1929, after serving as class president all four years. At The Pennsylvania State College, Longenecker's academic focus shifted from plant science to biochemistry as he earned B.S., M.S., and PhD degrees. Longenecker played clarinet, saxophone, and violin in the Varsity 10 Orchestra and briefly considered a career as a professional musician. In 1936, the 24-year-old became one of very few scientists selected that year for a post-doctoral fellowship abroad, and one of the first from an agricultural college. Before leaving for Europe, he married Marjorie Jane Segar of Mechanicsburg, PA, the only girl he ever dated. Their marriage ended in her death 69 years later. The couple spent their first two years of married life at University of Liverpool, England; University of Cologne, Germany; and Queens University in Canada. Longenecker's research concentrated in fats and oils. Returning to the United States in 1938, Longenecker joined the faculty and research staff at the University of Pittsburgh, working with C. Glenn King, known for characterizing the biochemistry of Vitamin C and a pioneer in the study of the storage, shipment, and freezing of food. When King left Pittsburgh, Longenecker, then age 31, was placed in charge of the university's research efforts in the biological sciences. Over the next 17 years, he served as professor of biochemistry, dean of research in the natural sciences, and later dean of the graduate school. In 1944, the American Chemical Society designated him one of the ten ablest chemists working in the United States in the field of fats, oils, and soaps. In wartime he assumed key roles with the Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the Army's Quartermaster Corps Committee on Food Research where he helped redesign K-rations and powdered foods. In the post war era, he continued to serve a variety of national organizations in numerous capacities, including committees on biological warfare for the Navy, committees for the Army, National Institutes of Health, Office of Education, American Institute of Baking, and the Food and Drug Administration. As Dean of Research and Dean of the Graduate School, Longenecker recruited Dr. Jonas Salk to Pitt where Salk conducted the animal and large-scale human trials leading to the success of the Salk killed virus polio vaccine. Longenecker took a keen interest in Pittsburgh civic affairs and served on community and governmental boards, sometimes as president or chairman, that planned the Golden Triangle and related development and redevelopment projects in downtown Pittsburgh. Four children, Herbert Jr., Marjorie, Geoffrey, and Stanton, were born and grew up in the family's Fox Chapel home. In 1955, the University of Illinois recruited Longenecker to lead its health professional colleges of dentistry, medicine, and pharmacy, school of nursing, and its 620-bed research and educational hospital. Longenecker became vice president in charge of the Chicago Professional Colleges. The colleges were a key institution in Chicago's Medical Center District then fast developing into one of the largest medical centers in the world. He set up communications within the colleges, expanded the university hospital, developed new medical research laboratories, filled key positions, and increased the flow of gifts and research grants to the university. In 1960, Longenecker was named a Distinguished Alumnus of his alma mater Penn State and received the Illinois Professional Council's Distinguished Service Award for his leadership in upgrading the standards and quality of the health professions in Illinois. During this five year period, the Longenecker family lived in Kenilworth. Beginning in 1960 and for the next 15 years, Longenecker served as President of Tulane University in New Orleans. At Tulane, Longenecker initiated new educational and research programs, including computer and teacher education centers, the Delta Primate Center near Covington, LA, the Riverside Research Laboratories near Belle Chase, LA, and the International Center for Medical Research and Training in Cali, Columbia. During his tenure, major new construction took place at the Tulane Medical Center. A new library, science center, and dormitory facilities were built on the uptown campus and historic structures renovated for other departments. Shortly after coming to Tulane, Longenecker co-chaired the NASA New Orleans Coordinating Committee which was instrumental in bringing a part of the space program to New Orleans. He also served numerous civic and governmental agencies, educational associations, private foundations, and business corporations. Jane Longenecker restored two University-owned homes at 12 Audubon Place and 2 Audubon Place to serve as the President's residences and entertained frequently the extended Tulane and New Orleans communities. Longenecker and Tulane were also active in the American Association of Universities (AAU). As AAU president, he led delegations of U. S. university presidents to meetings in Bonn, England, Moscow, Scotland, Sydney, and Tokyo. From 1961 to 1975, Longenecker served on and chaired the Department of Defense Advisory Panel on ROTC Affairs. Longenecker served as the first chairman of the Academic Advisory Board of the U.S. Naval Academy; a longtime director and chairman of the Nutrition Foundation (1961-1985); a director of the Bush Foundation of St. Paul, Minnesota (1969-1984); and a director of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, New York. From 1959 to 1988 Longenecker was a director of the Institute for Defense Analysis, adviser to the Secretary of Defense, the Chiefs of Staff, and the FBI. From 1966 to 1985, Longenecker was an active director of the multi-national corporation CPC International. Many of his 44 foreign trips were to inspect corn processing facilities across the globe. From 1968 to 1984, he served as a director of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, during which time the Equitable invested funds in the development of Riverchase in Birmingham and high rise towers in Birmingham and New Orleans. He helped design the Equitable's corporate giving program. First elected to the national scientific research society, Sigma Xi, in 1935, he served as national president in 1980. From 1976 to 1979, after retirement from Tulane, Longenecker served as the Managing Director of the New Orleans World Trade Center, where he had been a director beginning in 1961. Longenecker received honorary degrees from Duquesne University of Pittsburgh (1951), Loyola University of Chicago (1963), the University of Miami (1972), Loyola University of the South (1976), and the University of Illinois (1976). He became a Fellow of the American Public Health Society, the American Institute of Chemists, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Institute of Medicine in Chicago. He received the Papal Award, Bene Merenti, in 1977. At his death, Longenecker was a resident of the St. Martin's in the Pines Independent Living community and a member of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, the Boston Club of New Orleans, Sigma XI, the American So
Published in The Birmingham News on September 29, 2010
Is this the one you are looking for?