In Memoriam: G. Earl Peace Jr., Associate Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Former Class Dean

July 29th, 2013 by 


Image by John Buckingham

G. Earl Peace Jr., associate professor emeritus of chemistry and former class dean, passed away on July 24 after an illness. He was 68.

Peace served the College for a total of 24 years, first as a tenured faculty member in the chemistry department from 1979-92, then after leaving the College to pursue new opportunities in the Midwest, he returned in 2001 to shepherd the classes of 2005 and 2009 as class dean. Peace then served from 2009-11 as visiting associate professor and director of the Natural World cluster for Montserrat, the College’s comprehensive program for all first-year students.

Peace earned his bachelor’s degree at Lafayette College, and both his master’s degree and Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He was a tenured member of the faculty at Lafayette until he joined the faculty at Holy Cross in 1979.

For the next 13 years, Peace served in a number of roles, including minority student advisor, and was elected to a number of important committees, including the Committee on Tenure and Promotion, the Academic Standing Committee and the Admissions Committee.

In 1990, Peace received an ACE Fellowship and spent a year working on institutional research and planning. Shortly thereafter, he left Holy Cross in 1992 to join the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the academic planner for the UW System. He subsequently served as the associate director of the “New Traditions” Curricular Reform Project and the director of the “Multi-Initiative Dissemination Project.”

Before Peace’s retirement in 2011, Timothy R. Austin, then-vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, acknowledged his many years of service to Holy Cross before members of the faculty.

“If there exists a standard model for a faculty career at Holy Cross, then Earl Peace has undoubtedly challenged that model in several respects, while still finding his own unique way to serve the College as a teacher of chemistry, a class dean, and most recently a cluster director in Montserrat,” he said.

A memorial service is being planned for Peace in September.

A complete obituary will appear in the fall issue of Holy Cross Magazine. If you have a special memory or story about Dean Peace, you are welcome to share it by leaving a comment below or emailing hcmag@holycross.edu. Remembrances may appear in the magazine or in an online tribute.

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Comments (8)
  1. Gail kulisch '83 says:

    Dr Peace was an extraordinary mentor and a caring teacher. My heart goes out to his family. He will be missed…

  2. Donna (Castelli) Lies says:

    I cannot tell you how saddened I am at the passing of Dr. Peace. Never before had I experienced a professor who made a long, arduous, end-of-the-day, seemingly endless chem lab so fun. More times than I can remember, I walked out of lab smiling and/or laughing, all thanks to his humor, jokes and generally good nature. He was incredibly supportive of me when I found some of the course material difficult, and never hesitated to walk me through the myriad of things I did not understand. He answered EVERY question of mine patiently and thoroughly, and there were many questions over the course of my two years as a chem major. HC and the greater community have lost a true treasure.

  3. Jeanne Normand says:

    My time at Holy Cross would not be the same without Dean Peace. I was lucky enough to be a part of his FYP seminar in 2005 and feel truly honored to have gotten to know him personally and as a professor in that year long course. From the “proud to be a chemist” card that he gave to each of us—and which I still have!—to class dinners at his home and his kind, quiet, but insistent encouragement and unflappable guidance, he was an integral part of my HC experience, and the experience of so many others, too. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and many, many friends; he will be missed, but lives on in the memories and lives of so many that his presence has touched over the years.

  4. Karen Turner says:

    So many memories of Earl–it is hard to choose one–but–there was a night in Beijing in 1988 when Earl did something heroic. We were in China for a month with a group of faculty who had worked with Tom Gottschang, Claudia Ross and me to prepare for the trip–funded by a grant that I had written. The faculty studied Chinese for a year and also worked with me in a seminar. So–that night in China, I realized how valuable the language prep turned out to be. We had dinner in a small restaurant in an alley behind the Forbidden City, when Tom became very ill. It was a rainy night and at that time, cabdrivers would not drive in the rain–long story. The staff at the restaurant were very sweet and tried and tried to get us a cab. Finally, they had to go home and I sent the group ahead to see if one of them could get to a cab stand and personally beg for a driver to help. Meanwhile, Tom and I sat on the curb in darkness, waiting, hoping. Then I saw lights in the distance coming along the winding alleyway with a man leading a car–it was Earl. His Chinese language skills and his charm did the trick. Earl of course acted as if it was not big deal!

  5. Annmae Javier-Minichiello says:

    I felt so honored to be a student of Dean Peace’s class of 2009. His presence always exuberated such compassion and love to everyone around him. I will always remember the words of encouragement and support he gave me. He was not only a mentor, but a friend that encouraged me to always persevere and reminded me of the potential I had, even if I didn’t see it myself at the time. I am just truly grateful to have met such a wonderful man. He will be deeply missed by many.

  6. Kiera McKendrick says:

    When I was accepted to Holy Cross only a few days before school started in the summer of 2001 after being on the waiting list, Dean Peace called me to welcome me to Holy Cross. He made sure my transition was seamless and contacted me several times throughout those first few weeks to make sure I had everything I needed to start. When I made Dean’s List my first semester, he wrote me a personal note congratulating me on doing well and thanking me for accepting the late admission. I remember being so touched by the note. I have kept it all these years. It has travelled with me through multiple moves, the daunting task of applying to medical school, and now as I start to apply to residency programs across the country. It always serves as a reminder to me to persevere. Dean Peace was the first of many people that meant so much to me at Holy Cross. He was a wonderful man with a gentle presence. I will miss him. – Kiera McKendrick ’05

  7. Kirsten Ross says:

    Dean Peace holds such a special place in my heart. I went through some trying times with personal family issues, and without Dean Peace’s support, I may not have graduated. Due to my family situation I had 110K in student loans from attending HC. Dean Peace mentioned that I should consider the military and see if the military would pay my student loans back. I became an Army Officer and then I had all my loans paid back after only 5 years from graduating Holy Cross in ’05. I met my husband in the Army and we have three beautiful children and are stationed in Italy. I’m going back to school to become a nurse anesthetist, and I do believe Dean Peace played a large role in the smart decisions I have made. I have a wonderful life, and Dean Peace helped lead me there. God bless Dean Peace. May he enjoy eternity in heaven.

  8. Randi Booth says:

    There aren’t many words I can use to describe my love for Dean Peace. He was a mentor in every sense of the word. This gentle man fully embodied the Holy Cross message of being a person for others. I will miss him greatly.

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