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Volume 55, Number 18   January 21, 2008         

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In Memoriam

Professor Emeritus Jack Welpott
Jack Welpott, internationally acclaimed photographer and professor emeritus of photography, died peacefully in Marin County on Nov. 24, 2007. The cause of death was kidney failure. He was 84 years old.

From very early in his life, Welpott was intrigued by photography. According to his daughter, Jan Marie Daniele, when Welpott was about 7 years old, his father came across a small version of his own big box camera, which he gave to young Jack with the proviso that the boy was to have no film, just the camera to play with. From that beginning, Welpott improvised a darkroom in the family bathroom, scrounged up a plastic Bulls Eye camera, and his life as an artist and photographer began.

During World War II, Welpott served as a monitor of Japanese radio transmissions in the South Pacific. Following the war, he entered Indiana University on the G.I. Bill. At Indiana University, Welpott studied under Henry Holmes Smith, who had been an associate of Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, founder of the New Bauhaus School of Design in Chicago. Welpott earned a master's degree in visual communication and a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography, the first such degree offered by the university at the time.

Welpott 's work was exhibited in more than 200 museums in the U.S. and abroad and is included in collections at the Getty Museum, the Whitney Museum, San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and Bibliotheque. In addition to his long tenure teaching at SF State, he was awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Marin Arts Council, and he received the Medal of Arles.

Welpott wrote several books on photography including the recent Driving to Stoney Lonesome, a record of his post-Depression years in Indiana. In the book, he writes, "To make a photograph as honestly as one can, generates an artifact that bears witness to one's personal truth."

Welpott is survived by his daughter, her husband Rob Daniele and their two sons, Nicolas and Kevin; his son Matthew Welpott and two step-daughters, Karan and Jenny Grey; colleague and assistant Ben Nixon; longtime friend Jo Ann Fineman; and the many friends, family, students and colleagues whose hearts he touched throughout his life.

A memorial for Welpott was held on campus at the Fine Arts Gallery on Jan. 12. Memorial donations may be made toward the publication of Welpott's retrospective book via Linda Oblack, IU Foundation/IU Press, Indiana University, 107 Indiana Ave., Bloomington, IN 47405.

Professor Jane Zeile
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Jane Zeile passed away Dec. 9 from the consequences of metastatic breast cancer. She joined the SF State Chemistry Department's tenure track faculty in 1983 after three years as a temporary instructor. An experienced industrial chemist, she held a Ph.D. in chemistry from Vanderbilt University. Married to SF State Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Sergio Aragon, Zeile is also survived by four sons.

Well respected by her students, Zeile recently served as the director of the College of Science and Engineering's Student Resource Center. Her research focused on organometallic chemistry and electrochemical methods for application in the solar energy and semi-conductor industries.

At a Dec. 13 memorial service, Zeile was remembered by her colleagues as a devoted teacher and mentor to her students as well as a committed, energetic and talented inorganic chemist. She was admired as the coordinator of the successful "Women in Chemistry" seminar series, which brought distinguished women chemists to campus to present talks and interact with students as role models. She took the leadership role in initiating and promoting environmental chemistry as an important research focus and served on the committee that developed SF State's environmental studies program.

"I greatly admired, respected and appreciated Jane for the wonderful person that she was, as well as for her impressive accomplishments as a scientist and faculty member," said Dan Buttlaire, chemistry and biochemistry professor. "She has left her mark on our department and on the many students who have benefited from Jane as their teacher and mentor."

Jane was devoted to her four sons and was in love with hiking in the mountains and cross-country skiing. Memorial gifts may be made to the Sempervirens Fund in the name of Jane Victoria Zeile at or (650) 968-4509.



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Last modified Jan. 21, 2008 by University Communications