UW News

March 14, 2018

UW mourns chemistry professor, former provost and vice president for academic affairs, Irving Shain

Former University of Washington Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Irving Shain has died. He was 92.

Shain, a noted scholar and mentor, published seminal research in the field of electrochemistry.

Born on Jan. 2, 1926, in Seattle, Shain served in the Army during World War II and did his graduate work at the UW after the war. He began teaching at the University of Wisconsin–Madison but would return to Seattle to serve as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the UW from 1975 to 1977 before returning to Madison.

Mug shot

Irving Shain at a 1978 University of Wisconsin-Madison commencement ceremony.NORMAN LENBURG/UW–MADISON ARCHIVES

Shain was a graduate of the UW class of 1949 and earned a Ph.D. in electrochemistry and mechanisms of electrode reactions in 1952. Although he spent the lion’s share of his career in Madison, he left a lasting impact at the UW. He and his wife created the Irving and Mildred Shain Endowed Fund in Chemistry in 1989, funds that continue to support students and research today.

At the University of Wisconsin—Madison, Shain served as chancellor for nearly a decade and was honored in 2006 with the dedication and naming of the Shain Research Tower. A decade later, Shain’s children endowed the Irving Shain Chair in Chemistry.

“I was very fond of Irving. He was a valued adviser when I was department chair,” said Paul Hopkins, former chair of the UW Chemistry department. “He always had good advice.”

Shain was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Millie, in 2015. He is survived by four children, Kathy, Steve, John and Paul, and three grandchildren, Nathan, Isabel and William.

Memorial donations can be made to the University of Wisconsin Foundation to support the Irving Shain Memorial Fund for Chemistry.