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University Community Mourns Former Provost

AUDIO: A Tribute to Former Northwestern University Provost Lawrence B. Dumas.
This audio tribute to former Northwestern University Provost Lawrence B. Dumas contains clips recorded at a memorial service held in his honor on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008, at Alice Millar Chapel. Speakers include: Henry S. Bienen, president of Northwestern University; John Margolis, dean and chief executive officer of Northwestern University in Qatar; Daniel Linzer, provost of Northwestern University; and Robert Dumas, son of Lawrence B. and Sally Dumas.

Lawrence B. Dumas, a scientist, teacher, academic leader, friend and father, died Nov. 17 after battling a brain tumor. He was 67.

Dumas came to Northwestern in 1970. He helped found the department of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology and served as its chair from 1985 to 1988. He then spent eight years as dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences before becoming provost in 1996.

"In that role he provided unparalleled leadership and thoughtful guidance to the entire University," said President Henry S. Bienen. "He looms large in the history of Northwestern."

As provost, Dumas helped craft "The Highest Order of Excellence," a document outlining goals, priorities and strategies for the University. He also led planning that resulted in making new tuition revenues available for initiatives in undergraduate education. He fostered analysis and planning that led to the decision to phase out the Dental School.

An award-winning scientist, Dumas focused his studies on molecular studies of chromosomal replication.

"Larry was, simply put, a great provost and a great leader," Bienen said when Northwestern faculty and staff, students and friends of Dumas' gathered at Alice Millar Chapel in November for a tribute to the former provost.

John Margolis, dean and chief executive officer of Northwestern University in Qatar, outlined the qualities that made Dumas a great leader: "quiet but real warmth, deep interest in people, direct talking, clear thinking, a finely calibrated moral compass, unfailing integrity, genuine humility and the valuing of community over self."

Bienen closed his remarks by saying, "They just don't make many people like Larry Dumas anymore. But then again, they never did."

In honor of Dumas' contributions to Northwestern, the University established the Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished University Professorship.

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Lawrence Dumas
Lawrence Dumas