The University Record, June 24, 1998

Whitesell to head restored Observatory

By Jane R. Elgass

Sandy WhitesellPatricia S. Whitesell, author of the monthly "Historical Record" column and assistant to the vice president for research, has been appointed director of the Detroit Observatory and curator of its museum.

For the past four years, Whitesell has overseen a major historic restoration of the building at the edge of the Medical Campus, with a formal dedication expected some time this fall.

The restored Observatory, which was the University's first dedicated research laboratory and is the second-oldest building on campus, will support research and instructional activities. Its museum will house astronomical and space physics artifacts.

Whitesell also has written A Creation of His Own: Tappan's Detroit Observatory, forthcoming this fall from the Bentley Historical Library.

"This appointment recognizes the outstanding job Sandy has done as chief overseer of the restoration process and her scholarship," said Frederick C. Neidhardt, vice president for research. "Throughout the campus, individuals have been uniform in their praise of the excellence with which Sandy has carried out the challenge from Homer Neal to bring forth this restoration."

Whitesell holds a B.A. from Olivet College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the U-M. Prior to joining the Office of the Vice President for Research, Whitesell was director of financial aid at the Law School and a financial aid officer in the Office of Financial Aid. She has chaired the Detroit Observatory Advisory Group since 1994.