University Mourns Loss of Teaching Giant


Luther Andrews

An important figure in University at Albany history, Charles Luther Andrews, 87, professor emeritus of physics, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 20, in Orono, Maine. Luther Andrews was one of the most beloved educators in the annals of the institution, beginning his career at the New York State Collge for Teachers in 1931, and serving as professor and chair of the Department of Physics from 1944 until his retirement in 1969. The author of the book Optics of the Electromagnetic Spectrum and some 80 research papers and journal articles on physics, he was given the national Robert A. Millikan Lecture Award in 1977.

In that year he was also named a Citizen of the University by the Alumni Association. In addition, he was the winner of a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Award and received the Distinguished Service Citation from the American Association of Physics Teachers.

A consultant on the use of microwaves for the General Electric Company from 1943 until his death, Andrews was awarded four patents. Born in Berkshire, N.Y., he received his bachelorís and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. He served in professional organizations and community projects and taught Sunday school for more than 50 years. The widower of Kathlyn Merrill Andrews, his survivors include a daughter and three grandchildren.

Jack Smith, a former student of Andrews at Albany from 1939-41, then his colleague and fellow emeritus in physics, said that Andrews was enormously respected by fellow faculty and particularly beloved by the students. "Across the country, across the many lands where physics and the teaching thereof have been increased and improved thanks to his great efforts, there have been joyful acknowledgments (with some re-morse) that Luther is at rest with his Maker," said Smith. "In his personal makeup, which was one of dedication to humanity, was his greater dedication to God.

"Rather than miss him, we will do well to think of him always at our sides as the great teacher that he is, on every occasion when we do, or should, attempt to work harder toward the excellence he showed us."

A service was held in Orono at the United Methodist Church. Spring burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery in Berkshire.

Contributions may be made to the C. Luther and Kathlyn C. Andrews Fund for Graduate Physics Students, c/o Sorrell Chesin, AD 231, University at Albany.

Josiah T. Phinney was born in Boston in 1901 and received a bachelorís degree in economics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in economics and masterís in education from Harvard University. He taught at Harvard for three years and then at Lafayette College for 12 years before joining the Albany faculty as professor of economics in Fall 1946.

During the 1950s, Phinney chaired the College for Teachersí social studies department, and then, when the college became a university, was appointed the first dean of the new College of Arts and Sciences. He retired as dean in 1966 and from the University in 1969.

His wife of 60 years, Esther, preceded him in death by just over a year.

Professor Emeritus of History Kendall Birr, who joined the Albany faculty in 1952, remembered the standards set by Phinney at that time. "The choice of Joe Phinney as social studies chair was a good one," said Birr. "While he was an economist, he was particularly interested in history and geography, and his Harvard Ed.M. made him sensitive to the distinctive problems of training teachers.

"As the only person trained in economics at the College in the 1950s, Joe taught a whole range of courses ó principles, public finance, labor, consumer economics, etcetera. He aimed for clear and precise explanations of economic theory, and he demanded that his students display the same clarity and precision. But his classes were also filled with appropriate application to contemporary economic issues and were leavened with his dry humor."

Phinney is survived by two daughters and several grandchildren

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