In Memoriam: Ash O'Donnell

SF Chronicle article pays tribute to the late Ashton O’Donnell ’43

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Whether attending or participating in organizing them, many campus community members have been involved with O’Donnell Lectures over the years. You may know that one of the namesakes of the endowed lectureship, Ashton “Ash” J. O’Donnell ’43, passed away July 28, 2010.

The San Francisco Chronicle has published a tribute article about O’Donnell, a physicist, diplomat and devoted Whitman supporter. The article recounts his expression about having met the two loves of his life at Whitman – physics and his wife, Virginia Graham. His remarkable career in science included working on the atomic bomb during World War II, serving as the United States senior scientific advisor to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, and, ultimately, holding several leadership roles with Bechtel Corporation. Among the many lasting contributions made by the O’Donnells is the Ashton J. and Virginia Graham O’Donnell Chair in Global Studies, which brings expert practitioners in international affairs to campus each year.