Thursday, June 21, 2012

Don Chodrow

Physics and Astronomy has lost Don Chodrow to an automobile accident.  On Monday June 18th, Don was involved in a single car accident on I-81.  He was on his way to teach Phys 150 in summer session. He was flown to UVA Medical Center, but never regained consciousness. After organ donation, he was removed from life support on June 20th. One of the bright lights in our department has gone out.

Don was such a big part of our department for the past 32 years that it is impossible to understand what we will be without him. He was always a strong voice for high quality education for all of our students. As the long-time instructor of advanced mechanics (Phys 340), he guided our majors toward understanding physics deeply and broadly. His dedication to teaching is without parallel. He eagerly taught any and every course offered to him.  Don was routinely in front of classes that spanned the spectrum in our department, from GSCI 101 to second-semester quantum mechanics. He was a leader in curriculum development, chairing the Curriculum and Instruction Committee for more than a decade. He guided many students to graduation, successful careers, and graduate school in his role as an academic advisor. Our majors revered him.

His presence also filled the department in a dozen small ways. He was always quick with a laugh or a joke so bad you had to laugh in response.

Don always had a hand on the rudder of the ship that is Physics and Astronomy. We will continue in his absence for he would have it no other way, but without his steady hand our direction is just a bit less well-defined.

We are thankful for all that was gentle and noble in his life. We will miss you, dear friend.

The family asks that no flowers be sent. Donations may be sent to Temple House of Israel, P.O. Box 1412, Staunton, VA 24402, or to the Don Chodrow Memorial Scholarship Endowment. We are creating a scholarship in Don's name to continue his long tradition of putting our student's education first.