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Former chancellor Irving Shain passes away at 92

Former UW-Madison Chancellor Irving Shain passed away this week at 92.

Image By: Image courtesy of Norman Lenburg/UW-Madison

Former UW-Madison chancellor emeritus and chemistry professor Irving Shain died Tuesday, March 6 in Madison after a short illness at 92 years. Shain promoted the university’s interests in China and established University Research Park.

Shain began teaching in the department of Chemistry at the university in 1952 and chaired the department from 1967-’70. He served as vice chancellor for academic affairs from 1970-’75, and after leaving UW-Madison for two years for a position as vice president at the University of Washington, he was named chancellor for almost a decade.

During his administration, he established University Research Park, the 260-acre business incubator located on Madison’s west side. The park rose out of his vision for developing an enterprise that accommodates private entrepreneurs who seek benefits that hold the potential to underwrite study at the university.

However, he is remembered for his work with students.

“My legacy includes the 27 students who earned their PhDs working with me and their research results,” Shain said.

Current UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank mourned Shain’s loss in a UW-Madison press release.

“I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Irv on the Board of Trustees of University Research Park,” Blank said in the release. “Irv was alway smart and strategic, while also having a wry sense of humor.”

His contributions to the department of Chemistry and UW-Madison were honored in 2006 at the dedication of the Shain Research Tower in the Chemistry Building.

Beyond the sciences, Shain encouraged greater recognition of the arts at the university and endowed two student competitions at the School of Music. He began student exchange programs with the People’s Republic of China in 1979 and advanced university delegations to China..

“His impact on this university is visible more than 30 years after he left,” Blank said. “Irv Shain made UW better in many ways throughout his career on this campus.”

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