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Memoir

Alfred S. Sussman
Regents' Proceedings

Alfred S. Sussman, professor of botany and former dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, retired from active faculty status on June 30, 1990, following 40 years of service at the University of Michigan.

In 1941, after receiving his B.S. degree from the University of Connecticut, Professor Sussman entered the military, exiting four years later with the rank of captain. After receiving his A.M. degree in 1948 and his Ph.D. degree in 1949 from Harvard University, Professor Sussman joined the University of Michigan faculty as an instructor in 1950. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1953, associate professor in 1957, and professor in 1961. His research has embraced the fields of biochemistry, physiology, and genetics, generating more than 80 scholarly publications. Beginning with investigations into the mechanisms of oxidation reactions that produce color changes in insects, Professor Sussman next turned his attention to the field of respiratory activity in the mold Neurospora testrasperma, and conducted extensive experiments on regulation of metabolic activities by both chemical and environmental factors.

Neurospora has continued to dominate Professor Sussman's career. His publications on spore germination, oxidative activities, metabolism, and the properties of the surfaces of these cells parallel the enormous growth in scientific interest that now surrounds the molds as model experimental organisms. Other contributions include work on a classic set of Neurospora mutants, which have altered biological clocks, and publications on development and ultrastructure of the organism. Among the awards Professor Sussman has received are a senior post-doctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation in support of a sabbatical year spent at Caltech, and a Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the University of Michigan.

In addition to his work in the laboratory and his classroom teaching duties, Professor Sussman has served in a number of highly visible administrative roles at the University. Although he is perhaps best-known for his leadership as dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies from 1974-85, Professor Sussman also served as chair of the Department of Botany from 1963-68, and as associate dean (1968-70) and acting dean (1970-71) of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Other administrative roles include service as interim vice president for academic affairs and interim vice president for graduate studies and research.

The Regents now salute this faculty member for his distinguished scholarly and research activities and his many outstanding contributions to University leadership by naming Alfred S. Sussman Professor Emeritus of Botany and Dean Emeritus of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.