The University Record, November 19, 2001

Obituaries

David C. Chandler

David C. Chandler, a preeminent educator and highly respected Great Lakes research scientist, died Nov. 8 in Schaumburg, Ill. He was 95.

Born in Walnut Grove, Minn., Chandler attended Greenville College in Greenville, Ill., receiving an A.B. in biology. He then attended the U-M where he received an A.M. and Ph.D. in zoology. During his advanced studies, Chandler developed an increasing fascination with the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem—the Great Lakes. This intrigue set the stage for noteworthy research in the years to follow.

In 1934–1947, Chandler taught at the University of Arkansas, Ohio State University and Cornell University. In 1953 he joined the U-M as a professor of zoology, where he worked until his retirement in 1973.

While at the University, Chandler first served as the director of the Great Lakes Institute and then helped establish the Great Lakes Research Division (GLRD) of the Institute of Science and Technology, for which he served as director for 13 years. During his tenure with the Great Lakes programs, Chandler worked to unify the Great Lakes research efforts and data sharing of various state, federal and international agencies. He viewed the Great Lakes holistically and championed international cooperation in research efforts. His vision, fund-raising skills and management style served as a center point around which some of the most important Great Lakes research initiatives of the 20th century revolved.

Following his retirement, Chandler was an adjunct professor of zoology at the Biological Station on Put-In-Bay for Ohio State University in 1974–1978. Upon relocating to Gainesville, he was named a visiting adjunct professor of zoology at the University of Florida.

Chandler was named an American Man of Science, and served as president of several scientific societies including the American Microscopical Society, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and the International Association of Great Lakes Research, as well as the Great Lakes Foundation. He also served on the National Academy of Sciences board, the National Sea Grant Committee and the AIBS Advisory Committee on Oceanic Biology for the Office of Naval Research. Chandler was also a charter member of the Limnological Society of America (later to become the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography) and one of the founding members of the International Association of Great Lakes.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in Chandler’s name to either Hospice of North Central Florida, 4200 NW 90th Blvd., Gainesville, FL, 32606, or to VITAS Hospice, 580 Waters Edge, Ste 100, Lombard, IL 60148.

—Submitted by the family

Cecil J. Nesbitt

Cecil J. Nesbitt, former chairman of the Mathematics Department and professor emeritus, died Oct. 22.

A native of Ontario, Nesbitt began his long career at the U-M in the 1937–38 academic year. In these earlier years, he did research on algebra and representation theory (including six papers in the Annals of Mathematics), and is perhaps best remembered for the book Rings with Minimum Condition (1944).

Nesbitt’s real interest was in the actuarial field and he wrote Mathematics of Compound Interest (1971) and Actuarial Mathematics (1986). The latter text is considered the seminal publication in its field and is used worldwide in educating future actuaries.

Nesbitt was appointed assistant professor in 1941, associate professor in 1946 and professor in 1952. He spent two terms as chairman of the Department of Mathematics (1960–61 and 1970–71), and was associate chairman 1962–67. He became professor emeritus in 1980. In 1988, Nesbitt was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Governance Award from The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.

Nesbitt became a fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 1946, the same year he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He also was a founding member of the American Academy of Actuaries in 1965. After completing a four-year term as director of the Actuarial Education and Research Fund, he continued as the Fund’s research director in 1980–1986. He was a vice president of the Society of Actuaries in 1986–1987.

Throughout his career, Nesbitt was first and foremost a great teacher. “He was the most effective teacher. He could explain abstract concepts so that they were crystal clear. And it was also obvious how important his students were to him,” said Curtis E. Huntington, one of his students in the 1960s and now professor of mathematics and the director of the actuarial program at the University.

In April 1991, the C. J. Nesbitt Room, a commons room for undergraduate concentrators in mathematics funded by alumni, was dedicated. At that dedication ceremony, Nesbitt gave a history of actuarial science here at the University. U-M started its in 1903, and was the first U.S. university to offer such a program. For 63 of these 98 years, Nesbitt was an integral part of the program. The C. J. Nesbitt room is located in East Hall.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or to the Cecil J. Nesbitt Chair, University of Michigan Department of Mathematics, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1109.

—From the Department of Mathematics