Long-time Ohio State Marion physics professor, Dr. Gordon J. Aubrecht II, passed away at his home in Delaware Monday afternoon, Nov. 21. He’d been informed that he had untreatable cancer in late September.
In an e-mail to faculty and staff, Dr. Aubrecht said he was shocked by the diagnosis, noting he’d only taken one sick day in his 43 years of teaching at Ohio State Marion. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1971.
He was 73.
“Gordon was dedicated to his students and shared his love of physics with hundreds of them through his tenure here,” said Ohio State Marion dean and director Dr. Gregory S. Rose, “but he was also a scholar in all senses of the word, publishing numerous papers and writing a textbook titled Energy in 2005. We will miss his intellect and personal energy on this campus.”
His close friend, Dr. Brian McEnnis called Aubrecht “a driving force” and “a central figure” in shaping Ohio State’s regional campuses. He helped set up a regional campus council that represented the interests of the regional campuses to Ohio State’s central administration. McEnnis said it was Dr. Aubrecht who insisted that faculty on the regional campuses be held to the same standards of research and scholarship as those employed in Columbus.
Dr. Aubrecht received Ohio State’s Faculty Award for Distinguished University Service in 2008.
In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Aubrecht was active in many organizations including the American Physical Society, the Association for University Regional Campuses of Ohio, and the American Association of University Professors. In fact, at the time of his passing, he was the president of The Ohio State University Chapter of the AAUP.
Dr. Aubrecht had been committed to recycling for more than 30 years.
Locally, he was on the board of Delaware Recyclers, Inc., a local nonprofit recycler in Delaware County, Ohio, where he resides. His latest term as President ended in September, 1997. In December, 1998, he was honored for his many contributions to recycling in Delaware County by Keep Delaware County Beautiful by a Lifetime Recycling Award.
Fellow member, Dr. Douglas Macbeth called him “a tireless defender of academic freedom and an energetic participant in University governance.” Dr. Macbeth noted that “Gordon was passionate about physics and physics education. He shared his knowledge beyond the classroom in his role as a public intellectual.”
For many years, Dr. Aubrecht was involved in helping high school and middle school science teachers develop an inquiry-based model for science education. He was working on writing a book on the subject at the time of his death.
Ohio State Marion has established a fund to name the physics lab in the new science and engineering building rising on the campus in honor of Dr. Aubrecht. A number of organizations, former students, and colleagues have contributed to the effort. Those interested in contributing may do so by sending a check to The Ohio State University at Marion Development Office, 1465 Mount Vernon Avenue, Marion, OH 43302 made out to the Ohio State University Foundation, fund number 315649. Online contributions may be made at www.giveto.osu.edu and designating fund 315649.
Dr. Aubrecht was laid to rest on Wednesday, Nov. 23 in a green burial service in Gambier, Ohio. A celebration of his life and memorial will be held in January.