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James P. Schwar and Joseph A. Sherma, two long-time members of the Lafayette faculty, received emeritus status at the Board of Trustees meeting Friday, May 18. The retired professors were recognized at Lafayette’s 166th Commencement May 19.

JOSEPH A. SHERMA, John D. and Frances H. Larkin Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and former department head, has spent much of his career advancing the fields of pesticide analysis and chromatography, a procedure for separating closely related compounds for analysis. Through his research at Lafayette and with a number of leading analytical chemistry laboratories, Sherma has written more than 490 research papers, books, and reviews. For 29 years, Sherma has authored reviews of thin-layer chromatography for Analytical Chemistry, the world’s leading analytical chemistry journal, and numerous analytical chemistry manuals for the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies. He taught the first, prototype short course on pesticide analysis for the Center for Professional Advancement.

Sherma initiated a student research program in analytical science when he arrived at Lafayette in 1958, publishing his first student-coauthored research paper three years later. He has involved 128 different students as coauthors for 171 papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Since 1961, he has published at least one student-coauthored paper every year. In 1995, the American Chemical Society honored Sherma with the Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution.

Sherma is the author, along with Bernard Fried, Gideon R. Jr. and Alice L. Kreider Professor Emeritus of Biology, of Thin-Layer Chromatography, published initially in 1982 and expanded in four subsequent editions. They also coedited a 1996 book, Practical Thin-Layer Chromatography: A Multidisciplinary Approach, and two editions of the Handbook of Chromatography. The success of their interdisciplinary collaboration was reported this year in “Collaborative Research in Invertebrate Biology and Analytical Chemistry at Lafayette College,” a paper in Chromatography: Journal of Separation and Detection Sciences.

In honor of their work together and with students, Sherma and Fried were the inaugural recipients of the Delta Upsilon Distinguished Mentoring and Teaching Award, established last year by the alumni of the Lafayette chapter of Delta Upsilon fraternity on its 115th anniversary. The award recognizes members of the faculty for distinctive and extraordinary teaching through mentoring, which may include advising, undergraduate research, independent study, or any of the many one-on-one mentoring activities that take place in a student-centered learning environment.

Sherma and Fried continue their work with students through the Dreyfus Foundation’s Senior Scientist Mentor Program for recently retired faculty. They recently received a $20,000 grant from the Dreyfus Foundation to study the parasitic infection of medically important snails.A little more than half of the grant will be used to fund ten weeks of research for three Lafayette students in the summer of 2002. The rest will go toward presenting research results at scientific meetings, and purchasing chemicals and equipment.

Lafayette awarded Sherma the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrrest Jones Faculty Lecture Award in 1968, the Jones Award for Superior Teaching in 1971, and the Mary Louise Van Artsdalen Prize for outstanding scholarly achievement in 1989. He was honored with the 1979 Distinguished Alumnus Award by Upsala College, and the E. Emmet Reid Award for Excellence in Teaching Chemistry by the American Chemical Society.

Sherma has been coeditor of the Journal of AOAC International for Pesticide and Industrial Chemical Residues and Trace Elements since 1981. He has been a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Planar Chromatography since 1988, Acta Chromatographica since 1996, Journal of Liquid Chromatography and Related Technologies since 1998, and Journal of Environmental Science and Health (Part B) since 1999.

Sherma earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Upsala College in 1955, where he graduated second in his class, and a doctorate in analytical chemistry from Rutgers University in 1958. He was promoted to assistant professor at Lafayette in 1959, associate professor in 1963, full professor in 1974, Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry in 1982, and Larkin Professor of Chemistry in 1991.

JAMES PHILIP SCHWAR ’57, professor of computer science, was a leader in the development of Lafayette’s computer science curriculum and computing services, both as the first head of the computer science department from 1982-88 and director of the academic computing center from 1967-78. During his time in the College’s engineering division, Schwar served on the planning committee for the Fundamentals of Engineering course, which exposed students to the broad field of engineering. He authored numerous articles on engineering and computer science in professional journals, and in 1982, coauthored a computer science textbook, Applied FORTRAN for Engineering and Science, with Charles. L. Best, professor emeritus of engineering.

Lafayette established the James P. Schwar Prize in his honor, which each year funds a cash prize and EXCEL Scholar project for a student in computer science. Schwar won the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lecture Award in 1967 and delivered the Sigma Xi Luncheon Lecture in 1979. He served on many College committees, encompassing the areas of computer science, administrative computer services, computer policy, engineering, admissions, student evaluation of faculty, curriculum, economic status, the library, retirement, scheduling, special instructional programs, provost council, and numerous search committees.

A native of Easton, Schwar joined the faculty in 1962 as assistant professor of chemical engineering, becoming assistant professor of mechanics and engineering fundamentals in 1963, associate professor of chemical engineering in 1967, and associate professor of engineering science in 1969. He was named program chair of computer science in 1979, associate professor of computer science in 1982, and professor of computer science in 1983. He also served as part-time system analyst for academic computing in 1981-82, and as acting department head of computer science in spring 1997.

Schwar participated in a National Science Foundation Institute in 1963 on the history and philosophy of science and mathematics, and led a National Science Foundation project, “Pennsylvania’s Regional Instructional System for Education, Lehigh Valley Network,” in 1972. He received a summer fellowship in 1970 to study the digital simulation of continuous systems on a small digital computer. In 1977, Schwar went on sabbatical for the fall semester to review and abstract the literature on computer operating system theory and design. He used a curriculum development grant in 1992 to develop software that emulated model computer architecture.

Schwar’s computing guidance was extended to fellow faculty members and the larger community, including a learning program for retirees and instruction for the Lafayette Alumni Reunion College. For three summers, he taught about computers and computer programming for the Minority Introduction to Engineering, a program for high school students sponsored by Lafayette and the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development.

Schwar held professional engineering licenses in Pennsylvania and Texas. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Lafayette in 1957, a master’s in engineering from Princeton University in 1958, and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in 1967.

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