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Herbert C. Barrows
Herbert C. Barrows Jr., a professor emeritus who taught in LS&A and donated more than 200 pieces of art to the U-M Museum of Art (UMMA), died Aug. 29. He was 88.

Barrows’ legacy at the University extends beyond his 33 years as a professor of English. He had a wide-ranging knowledge of the romantic movement in Italy and Germany through various cross-disciplinary studies in art and literature, here and abroad.

A recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for study in Italy, he also was well known as a critic of modern literature, specifically poetry, and was the author of many journal articles. He was twice recognized as one of the outstanding teachers at U-M, as the recipient of the Williams Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in 1971 and the Amoco Award for Undergraduate Teaching in 1982.

But it is for his extraordinary eye as an active art collector that current and future students, faculty and staff members will remember him, says Sean Ulmer, UMMA’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

“He had an innately astute art eye,” Ulmer says.

In 2000 Barrows gave 152 pieces of art to the museum. Upon his death, the museum received 53 more. These paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures bear such names as Max Beckmann, Pierre Bonnard, Jean Dubuffet, Eric Fischl, David Hockney, Alex Katz, Robert Motherwell, Pablo Picasso and George Segal.

Many of the works Barrows gave to the museum have been on display in exhibits such as the New York School and German Expressionism.

A memorial service for Barrows will be held at UMMA at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 7. The public is invited.


Nelson W. Spencer
Nelson W. Spencer, who was considered one of the leading pioneers in the country’s space program and who helped establish the U-M Space Physics Research Laboratory, died Aug. 31 after an extended illness. He was 84.

Spencer was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and graduated from U-M in 1940 with a degree in electrical engineering. He served as a naval officer from 1942–43 and attended Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during his naval service.
He returned to U-M and earned a master’s degree in 1953. He became a professor of electrical engineering and the director of the Space Physics Research Laboratory, which is regarded as one of the best university-based space science research units.

Spencer led a variety of pioneering experiments using the captured V-2 rocket and other, newly developed rockets. His leadership introduced a number of students and colleagues to space exploration, and many of them went on to distinguished careers.

Shortly after NASA was formed, he left the University and joined the Goddard Space Flight Center, where he held many leadership positions, including chief of the Laboratory for Atmospheres and Biological Sciences. One of his main achievements was his ability to conceive new ideas and novel approaches to the exploration of the atmosphere and plasma environment of Earth and other planets.

He has been widely recognized as a leader in his field by a variety of awards and citations, and has received accolades from scientists, engineers and students in his field.


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