Chemistry Professor Leaves His Legacy

When Linda Baumgarten recalls growing up in upstate New York, she remembers learning a love for nature from her older brother Ronald. "When we were little, Ron and I would go for walks and he would teach me about the wildlife," Linda says. "He loved instilling an appreciation of nature in others."

Ron's connection to the Earth and his natural ability to teach led him to become a chemistry professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago. During his 40-year career, he was loved by students and colleagues alike, winning a prestigious teaching award nine times and having a chemical reaction named after him.

Ron was a keen environmentalist, promoting Earth Day celebrations on campus and developing a class in environmental chemistry. Ron also supported various environmental causes, including Greenpeace, before it was fashionable to do so.

As a lecturer on the threat of nuclear weapons himself, Ron believed in Greenpeace's earliest mission for nuclear disarmament in the 1970s. "Ron didn't own a car because he was concerned with the effects cars have on the planet," Linda says. "He was pleased that Greenpeace was also focusing on global warming."

Rom Baumgarten passed away on January 29, 2008. A strong supporter of Greenpeace and other environmental causes during his lifetime, Ron included a charitable gift to Greenpeace in his estate plans.

When asked about her brother's gifts, Linda says, "Ever since we were kids, Ron was connected to nature. He believed the Earth was sacred. His concern for the protection of nature was interwoven in his spirit and his life. That's why he chose to remember Greenpeace with a bequest and other gifts during his life, so his love of nature would continue through their work."

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