Jane Raymond, Longtime Chemistry Instructor, Dies at 80

Raymond taught at Caltech for over 30 years

Jane Shell Raymond, a chemistry instructor who taught at Caltech for over 30 years, has died. She was 80 years old.

Raymond was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1938. She attended Reed College, where she studied both chemistry and math. She was also known as an accomplished violinist and pianist.

Upon graduating from Reed, she pursued a doctorate in organic chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving her doctorate in 1962, she returned to Reed and taught in both the chemistry and math departments. She later taught chemistry at the University of Chicago and co-authored a textbook on physical sciences. She was a visiting lecturer at UC Berkeley before she joined the Caltech faculty in 1977.

During her time at Caltech, she redesigned the undergraduate chemistry laboratory curriculum and the laboratory space in the Clifford S. and Ruth A. Mead Memorial Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratory. In 1990, she received an award for excellence in teaching from the Associated Students of Caltech.

John Bercaw, Centennial Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, was on the search committee that hired Raymond, and he worked with her for many years.

"Jane's fierce dedication to our students and her insistence on providing the best possible laboratory experience for them were widely recognized," Bercaw says. "She was an uncompromising advocate for excellence in managing the lab facilities and instrumentation, updating curricula, delivering lectures, and training new graduate students and upper-level undergraduates to be effective teaching assistants for the courses."

Raymond retired from Caltech in 2009. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Katherine Raymond Johansson, and son, Alan Raymond. A fund has been established in her memory at Reed College to support undergraduate chemistry research.

Written by Emily Velasco

Emily Velasco