CSULB’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will host a reception on Wednesday, May 7, at 6 p.m. in the Pacific Room of the campus Chartroom dining facility to salute the retirement of faculty members Dorothy Goldish and Henry Po after a respective 50 and 40 years of service to the university.
“Anyone who has spent as many years of their lives serving students in this university the way Dot Goldish and Henry Po have deserves to be acknowledged,” said event organizer Paul Buonora, a member of the Chemistry/Biochemistry Department since 2000. “I think there are a lot of alumni who look at Cal State Long Beach as a place that made a big difference in their lives and who understand that their lives would not be the same without this university and without these two faculty members.”
Goldish entered the Faculty Early Retirement Program in 2003, concluding a 50-year career at CSULB. She received her B.S. from Stanford in 1955 and her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1958, the same year she joined CSULB where she has since taught in the areas of organic and general chemistry. She is a co-author of an organic chemistry problem book that was published by Prentice-Hall and translated into Japanese and Romanian. She also has written a mathematics book for chemistry students that has gone through four editions. In addition to her teaching duties, Goldish has held a long series of administrative responsibilities and served as the Associate Dean of the School of Letters and Science, Acting Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and for the last two years as the Acting Dean of Undergraduate Studies. From 1992-95 she was the Chair of the Academic Senate. Her distinguished service as a faculty leader earned her the Nicholas Perkins Hardeman Academic Leadership Award in 1995, the highest honor the faculty can confer to one of its members. She also delivered the prestigious Legacy Lecture in 1992.
Po joined Cal State Long Beach in 1968 and soon established himself as an excellent teacher and a prodigious researcher. His work with students at CSULB resulted in more than 40 publications in premier journals of chemistry, including the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the Journal of Coordination Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and the Journal of Computational Chemistry. He has directed M.S. thesis research of 35 graduate students to completion - a record probably unmatched at CSULB. Sixteen of his former students are now Ph.D.s, six M.D.s, and several have received MBAs. He received the Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award in 1984 and was selected as the University Outstanding Professor in 1995. Last year he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (Rho Chapter) as a full-fledged member. In the last seven years he was named twice as the Most Valuable Professor by the recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Award of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Since Buonora first arrived on campus, he realized there were long-serving faculty members who reached retirement only to leave without any fanfare. “After FERP they just kind of faded away without ever really being acknowledged,” he said. “There are accomplishments in a career that don’t show up in a resume, but do in ceremonies like these. The final lectures followed by the reception give Dot and Henry the opportunity to deliver a final lecture and to have their former students express what these faculty members mean to them.”
The feedback from faculty, staff and students has been positive. “Some can attend and some cannot but many have sent emails and messages to share with Dot and Henry,” he said.
Buonora believes the reception reflects well on the department. “When I suggested the idea to our chair, Doug McAbee, he not only endorsed the idea, he said he felt it should have been done for other recent retirees,” he said. “This department values what they have given to the university and we want them to know just how much they mean to us. If there is any downside at all, it is the regret that other faculty members were allowed to slip away without a similar salute. Our chair only wishes that the department could go back in time and do the same for others. “
Buonora encourages the university community as well as former alums to attend the reception. “This is an excellent opportunity for the campus to tell two people who have invested their lives in their students how much it all meant to them,” he said.