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Former UCSD Provost And Biology Professor Dies At 84

OCTOBER 3, 2002

Morris Enton Friedkin, a former provost and biology professor at the University of California, San Diego, died on September 19 in Encinitas, Calif., after a heart attack. He was 84.

Friedkin was Provost of UCSD’s Revelle College from 1974 to 1976, a professor of biology at UCSD for more than three decades and a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. For two decades, from the time of his arrival at UCSD in 1969 until 1989, he taught biochemistry to medical students and undergraduates at UCSD.

Friedkin grew up in the Midwest, went to college at Iowa State and worked on the critical World War II penicillin production program at the Northern Regional Laboratories in Illinois. At the end of the war, he enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of Chicago. He received his doctorate in 1948, went to Copenhagen for a year as a postdoctoral researcher, then returned to the United States in 1949 to join the faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine. He stayed there for nearly 10 years, leaving in 1958 to take on the chairmanship of pharmacology at Tufts University School of Medicine, where he subsequently also chaired the merged departments of pharmacology and biochemistry.

“His colleagues at UCSD remember professor Friedkin's passion for science and teaching,” said Eduardo R. Macagno, Dean of UCSD’s Division of Biological Sciences. “His outstanding scientific contributions were recognized by his election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was moreover an engaged and engaging teacher, and a colleague whose integrity, steadfast devotion to core values of the university, compassion and tact, tempered by a well-disciplined capacity for plain speaking, made his counsel invaluable.”

“Professor Friedkin was widely known by his colleagues to be committed to fostering the development of the next generation of scientists, and his wisdom made him a particularly effective mentor for junior faculty,” added Macagno. “He also practiced a characteristically personal style of academic administration—one student at a time, as appropriate or required. And he was devoted to his family.”

Friedkin is survived by his wife Roberta; their three children, Sukey, Noah and Debbie; and four grandchildren.

Media Contact: Kim McDonald (858) 534-7572
Comment: Noah Friedkin, professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara and Morris Friedkin’s son. (805) 893-2840
Photograph Credit: Anthony Friedkin