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Born in 1947, Tom Cech is 1970 Grinnell alumni and chemist. Along with Sidney Altman, he won the 1989 Nobel Prize for the discovery of the catalytic properties of RNA.
Thomas Cech was born on December 8, 1947. He grew up in Iowa City, Iowa and later attended Grinnell College, graduating in 1970. He is a chemist and, with Sideny Altman, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989 for their discovery of the catalytic properties of RNA. Cech has spent the majority of his career at the University of Colorado at Boulder. From 2000-2008 he served as president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Beginning in 1948, John and Pioneer athletics were synonymous. He coached in virtually every sport during a 50-year career and even in retirement directed the men's soccer program and his beloved Pfitsch's Pfishes. In addition to many seasons, records, and championships in basketball and soccer John also was justifiably proud of his role in instituting women's sports during his long tenure as athletic director.
After graduating from the University of Texas Pfitsch earned his M.A. in physical education and assisted famous Coach Phog Allen at the University of Kansas before and after service in World War II. At Grinnell he helped obtain a $2.2 million federal loan and headed the planning committee for construction of the former Physical Education Complex, where the fieldhouse was named in his honor.
1909 June 14, born I Jamestown, New York
1928-29 Junior year at University of Nancy, France
1930 BA from Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
1931 Married Laura Rice
1930-32 Instructor in romance languages at Colgate University
1933 MA from University of Wisconsin
1935 Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin
1935-29 Professor of Romance Languages, Lake Erie College, Painesville, Ohio
1939-61 Grinnell College, Modern Language faculty
1941 Summer, Director, American Friends Service Committee, student work project, Mexico
1943-44 Coordinator of Area and Language Unites of the Army specialized Training, Assignment and Reclassification Unit (STAR), and if Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) at Grinnell College.
1946-47 President, Iowa Foreign Language Association
1947-48 Director, University of Delaware Foreign Study Group in Geneva, Switzerland
1949-50 Summers. Organized and taught French Play School for children
1952-55 Served on National Council of the American Association of University Professors
1953-54 President of the Iowa Conference of the American Association of University Professors.
1956-57 Executive Secretary, Council for Basic Education, Washington D.C. Editor, Council for Basic Education Bulletin
1959-60 President, Council for Basic Education
1958-60 Chairman of the Faculty, Grinnell College
1960 Summer. Research in France and Switzerland
1961 Appointed to Seth Richards Chair of Modern Languages
1961 Sept. 3. Died of cancer, Grinnell, Iowa