Long-time professor passes awayNov. 21, 1997
By Stephen Ratcliff
Reporter for The Baylor Lariat
Dr. Thomas Franklin, distinguished chemistry research professor, died Wednesday of a massive brain hemorrhage at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center. Franklin served Baylor in the chemisty department for more than 40 years.
Beginning his career with Baylor as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1954, Franklin became a professor of chemistry in 1960, a position that he held for 31 years. Since 1991, he has been a research professor and mentor to countless undergraduate students through his research in electrochemistry.
'He was one of the earliest faculty members who was here when the chemistry department was really beginning to grow,' Dr. Marianna Busch, professor of chemistry and chair of the chemistry department, said. 'He loved to teach. He loved to work with his students and challenge them.'
According to Busch, Franklin was a highly professional person who cared deeply about his colleagues and students. Through his dedication, many students have gone on to careers in chemistry and followed his example of excellence. In 1988, he was honored with the Baylor University Distinguished Research Professor award, and in May 1996 the Electrochemical Society presented him the Henry B. Linford Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Dr. Stephen Gipson, associate professor of chemistry, worked with Franklin for three years and considered him his first mentor.
'Dr. Franklin was an extraordinary man,' he said. 'I've often heard of him referred to as a teddy bear. He was a very warm and caring person who has helped many students. Dr. Franklin was the professor that used the most undergraduates in his research and been a mentor to countless students, including myself.'
Considered unselfish and a remarkable teacher, Dr. Franklin challenged the levels of learning for students and professors alike.
'I was Tom's officemate about the first eight years I was at Baylor. He was my personal teaching model for my earlier teaching years at Baylor,' Dr. David Pennington, chemistry professor, said.
'I used to marvel from my office at the lengths he would go to to cajole his students into working a problem without spoon feeding them.'
Pennington said Franklin would provoke his students to think about a problem and
have the patience to see them through to solving it.
'On numerous occasions, he also corrected my perceptions about concepts in chemistry as a young professor,' he said. 'He knew a little bit about practically everything in chemistry and was a very unselfish individual in teaching those things. He gave of everything he had to Baylor and to the people around him.'
Services for Franklin will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church. Visitation will be Friday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at Wilkerson-Hatch Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Tom and Nellie Franklin Scholarship Fund through the chemistry department or to a charity of the donator's choice.
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