College of Science & Engineering Alumni Newsletter

Fall 2001

Dan Buttlaire, a Leader and Role Model of the College

    For the past 26 years, San Francisco State University has had the privilege of Dr. Dan Buttlaire’s expertise and leadership in the College of Science and Engineering. After serving as Associate Dean of the College from 1997-2001, Dr. Buttlaire presently leads the College of Science and Engineering through his commitment to hard work. Dr. Buttlaire served as the Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SFSU for 17 years. He also finds time to teach as an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry since he began his career at the University in January of 1975. Dr. Buttlaire has selected as the new Dean of Undergraduate Studies at San Francisco State University, he is slated to begin shortly after a new Dean is chosen for the College of Science and Engineering.
    Dr. Dan Buttlaire was born in New York and spent the first ten years of his life in Bronx, New York. Thereafter, he grew up and attended school in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. in Chemistry at the University of Denver in 1963. He pursued his next endeavor and received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Kansas. His research over the years focused primarily on the mechanisms of enzyme action and on the relationship between the structure and biological function of protein molecules.
    Dr. Buttlaire was particularly attracted to SFSU, “…because it afforded me the opportunity to balance my professional activities between teaching, research and service in an academic environment that truly values teaching,” he stated. Dr. Buttlaire was attracted to the diversity of the students and working with the many students who are the first in their family to attend college. Dr. Buttlaire added, “I felt that I could really make a difference in the lives of many students and future generations of their families, as well as help society, by preparing student for productive careers as scientists and health professionals.” He has directed 26 research students, including 16 graduate students and 10 undergraduates. Thirteen of his research students have earned doctorate degrees: 6 Ph.D., 6 M.D. and 1 M.D. and Ph.D. Many of his former students are now professors, school teachers, physicians, dentists, veterinarians and research scientists who work with companies, such as companies that discover new medicines to cure diseases. Dr. Buttlaire stated: “One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is talking to my former students and learning that they are successful in their careers and now have jobs that they really like.” Among his outstanding students are Carol Balfe, Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, a Research Scientist at Raychem; Yvonne D. Cagle, M.D. from University of Washington, a NASA Astronaut at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center; Carlos Catalano, Ph.D. from UC San Francisco, a Professor at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver and an outstanding scientist; Michael Luzzio, Ph.D. University of Rochester, a Research Scientist at Pfizer; Tuan Nguyen, M.D. Chicago Medical School, Chicago IL, an Associate Professor and chief of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Chicago Medical School, Chicago IL; Tom Stevens, Ph.D. Cal Tech, a Professor at the University of Oregon; and Ming-Sheng Yang, Ph.D. & M.D. at the Osaka University, a doctor in Japan.
    In addition to his extensive work in research, teaching, and leadership, Dr. Buttlaire has taken on the role of mentor on numerous occasions. His positive influence on students is well-known. Former student Dr. Robert Miller, now an Ophthalmologist and Clinical Science Professor at UC Davis Medical Center, states, “I am most grateful for the influence Dan had in my life. I still remember talking to him over his desk and Dan giving me pep talks to ‘follow my heart’. I owe him a great deal.” Dr. Tuan Nguyen described Dr. Buttlaire as a wonderful professor and mentor who was always there for him and others students.
    Dr. Buttlaire has contributed to San Francisco State University in myriad ways. He is a multi-faceted individual whose academic and administrative contributions to the University have left a positive imprint on students, staff, and faculty.

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