The University Record, June 4, 2001

Obituaries

William B. Stapp

William B. Stapp, professor emeritus of resource planning and conservation in the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), died May 21 in Ann Arbor in the presence of his family. Considered the founder of environmental education, Stapp spent his career searching for the root causes of environmental issues and helping students and adults find solutions to problems affecting their communities.

“Bill Stapp was one of those rare individuals whose influence spanned generations and continents,” said Barry Rabe, SNRE interim dean. “He was truly a pioneering figure in the field of environmental education, and his impact is evident in virtually every corner of the world. He leaves beyond an extraordinary legacy, including a loyal team of former students and collaborators who continue to define this vital area.”

Stapp was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and raised in Ann Arbor and Coronado, Calif. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the U-M. He created the Outdoor Program and was conservation coordinator with the Ann Arbor Public Schools before becoming a professor at the U-M, where he taught until retirement in 1993. He also helped plan the first Earth Day in 1970.

Stapp’s special interest was international environmental education, and he was the first chief of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Environmental Education Section. His environmental education program was the first to be unanimously accepted by all 135 UNESCO member nations. During and subsequent to his two-year tenure in Paris, France, Stapp and his wife Gloria visited and consulted with representatives of more than 120 countries on environmental education issues. In many countries, he worked with students and adults at the community level to find solutions to water quality problems and other environmental issues.

Concerned about world peace, he founded the Global Rivers Environmental Education Program (GREEN) in 1989. Most recently, he worked on a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)-sponsored rivers project between North and South Korea.

In addition to his worldwide influence upon environmental concerns, “Bill Stapp, the personable, soft-spoken, constant educator, made an enormous impact upon hundreds of Ann Arbor kids, my three among them, and upon thousands of adults throughout Michigan,” said friend and colleague Alfred W. Storey, associate professor emeritus of speech.

“When Bill was with the Ann Arbor Public Schools in the late ’50s and early ’60s,” Storey said, “he conducted numerous field trips with elementary school children—teaching them about nature, the environment, and how to get along with each other and the environment.

“During the late ’60s through the ’80s, Bill gave unstintingly of his time to participate, under the auspices of the University Extension Service, in off-campus lectures, conferences and correspondence courses,” added Storey, who also is director emeritus of the University Extension Service. “In this way, in addition to his on-campus teaching and research, he helped educate citizens of the state with regard to environmental concerns of the future.”

For many years, Stapp cooperated with public school systems in launching environmental monitoring programs in communities throughout the United States, especially in Michigan. He initiated the successful Rouge River recovery project, which involved students from 40 Detroit-area school systems 1987–89.

He was recognized with numerous national and international awards and nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1993. At the U-M, he was named to a Thurnau Professorship, which recognizes and rewards faculty for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.

Stapp is survived by his wife of 48 years, Gloria; sons David and Richard; daughter Deborah; daughters-in-law Lauren Stapp and Linda Goldman; son-in-law Terry Webster; and three grandchildren. Donations in his memory may be made to an environmental organization.

Submitted by News and Information Services


Milton Tamres

Milton Tamres, professor emeritus of chemistry, passed away May 7 in Ann Arbor after a lengthy bout with Parkinson’s disease. In spite of this affliction, he continued to attend departmental meetings, seminars and social affairs until his mobility became severely restricted. He was 79.

Tamres received his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1943 and his Ph.D. from Northwestern in 1949. He served five years on the faculty at the University of Illinois, where he developed a commendable reputation as a lecturer before he moved to the U-M in 1953. Here he became widely respected for his excellence in teaching and research until his retirement in 1987.

Tamres’ scholarly interests were focused on the spectroscopy and thermodynamic properties of charge transfer complexes. He had a reputation for careful quantitative studies of challenging systems and was highly valued as a critical voice in the field. Tamres was the chair of the first Gordon Conference on charge transfer complexes in 1970.

The author of some 70 papers and review articles, Tamres was a Guggenheim fellow, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Chemists. He was a past president of Phi Lambda Upsilon, the national honorary society in chemistry.

Tamres’ reputation as a teacher was legendary. His activities included everything from curriculum reform and counseling to outstanding lectures in the large introductory courses and advanced inorganic and physical chemistry. One of his greatest contributions was serving by example as a “teacher of teachers” as the department expanded with new faculty during the period 1955–70.

Tamres was loved by legions of undergraduates who sensed his deep concern for them. They wrote numerous unsolicited letters praising him to the department office, and he was the recipient of the Amoco Good Teaching Award in 1981.

Tamres shared his talent and passion for teaching broadly. He was a local consultant to the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti school systems, and he served on numerous U-M and American Chemical Society education committees. Tamres was a participant for seven years in the USAID-NSF summer science program in India. He was president of the Michigan College Chemistry Association 1970–71, and he was deeply involved in the local section of the American Chemical Society, serving as a councilor and chairman.

Throughout his career, Tamres served with self-effacing modesty, a gentle humanity and a generous willingness to help others that endeared him to all who came into his realm. Upon his retirement, the department honored its esteemed colleague by establishment of the Milton Tamres Outstanding Teacher Award, given annually to a graduate student teaching assistant. In 1995, a plaque was placed in his honor at the North University Avenue entrance to the Chemistry Building with the epithet “Milton Tamres, Master Teacher, Distinguished Scholar.” Two flowering trees also were dedicated at the site. He leaves his wife, Françoise; his children, Louise and Marc; and a grandson.

Submitted by the Department of Chemistry


Anne Hatcher

Anne Hatcher, widow of former U-M President Harlan Hatcher, died May 21 at the age of 90. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. June 9 in the special collections room on the seventh floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library, named for her husband, who was president 1951–67.

Sally Fleming, wife of another former U-M president, Robben Fleming, described Hatcher as a wonderful friend of the University who did a great deal for campus life. “She opened the President’s House to students, faculty and staff as well as members of the Ann Arbor community,” Fleming said. “Anne was a very fine person to be around, combining a grace and elegance with great kindness and thoughtfulness.”

Harold Shapiro, U-M president 1980–87 and outgoing president of Princeton University, said that Hatcher was an extraordinarily intelligent and gracious person.

“She was of enormous help to both Vivian and me at the beginning of my presidency as, of course, was Harlan,” Shapiro said. “Anne had an extraordinary commitment to the university and continued to be supportive in many important ways.

“We knew the Hatchers well, too, as neighbors for many years up north in Leland,” Shapiro added. “So, it’s a sad time now, but we have a tremendous store of happy memories to draw on.”

Actively involved in the Ann Arbor community as well as campus life, Hatcher served on the board of the American Red Cross and was instrumental in the Ann Arbor YMCA building project. She also was on the board of the local chapter of the American Association of University Women and was involved in the early stages of the founding of the U-M Center for the Education of Women.

Hatcher was born to Anne Hume Vance and William Reynolds Vance on Jan. 19, 1911, in New Haven, Conn., where her father was on the faculty of the Yale University Law School. She was a graduate of Vassar College, where she earned an A.B. in 1933.

In 1940, she received an M.A. from Columbia University and then taught foreign languages at Ohio State University. She married Harlan Hatcher in 1942. He preceded her in death in 1998 at the age of 99. The Hatchers are survived by two children, Anne and Robert, and four grandchildren.