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Professor Robert G. Carlson (1938-2020)

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Department of Chemistry regrets to announce the passing of Emeritus Professor Robert G. Carlson, who died November 26th at the age of 82.  Professor Carlson was an exceptionally talented researcher and gifted educator.  His generous and collegial approach helped shape our department and his dedication in the classroom contributed to generations of students fulfilling their ambitions.  

Professor Carlson received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1959 and his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1963.  He joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at KU later that same year.  Professor Carlson developed a vibrant research program in synthetic organic chemistry, which earned him a prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (1970-1972).  He also quickly became one of our most dedicated and popular educators, winning numerous awards for his excellence in the classroom.  He was recognized twice with the Mortar Board Outstanding Educator Award (1982 & 1999) and received the exclusive Kemper Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching.  He took great pride in advising students and was always extremely generous with his time.  He will be missed by all of us here in Chemistry, KU, and the Lawrence community.

Professor Carlson is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy Beatrice Carlson; their children Christina Ann Carlson and Kenneth Lynn Carlson; and grandchild Natalie Anne Carlson.  Bob’s full obituary can be found at the following link:

There will be an online memorial service for Robert on Saturday, December 5th at 1 PM. Those wishing to attend can go to https://mrcl.ink/rgcmemorial. The link will be live starting at 12:45 PM.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Dr. Robert G. Carlson Undergraduate Travel Fund (www.kuendowment.org/givenow) or mailed to:

KU Endowment, 
P.O. Box 928, 
Lawrence, KS 66044 


Donations in Robert's name to:
First United Methodist Church Lawrence
946 Vermont St
Lawrence, KS 66044-2832.

Chemistry department receives more than $8.5 million in research grants annually
14 chemistry faculty members have NSF CAREER Awards
Longest-running chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates in the nation
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