Memorials

Paula Burke Abel, M.S.

Ms. Abel graduated from McNeese State University with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1978, and with a M.S. in Chemistry in 1988.

She came to the McNeese Chemistry Department in August of 1988 and served as an instructor until her death on March 29, 2002. She also served the department as Assistant Department Head in charge of the Undergraduate Program and as a student advisor.

Before she came to us, she worked in several capacities at PPG, Inc.

5/78 - 3/81, Research Chemist, PPG, Inc., Lake Charles, La. Worked on production facility chemical processes.
3/81 - 3/85, Technical Assistant, PPG, Inc. Assisted operations foremen on technical projects.
3/85 - 8/88, Silicas Quality and Customer Service Supervisor, PPG, Inc. Supervised laboratory analysts, implemented statistical process control, handled product quality customer problems

J. David Tauber, Ph.D.

The following Letter to the Editor was published in the December, 1998, issue of the Contraband (campus newspaper). No more fitting tribute could possibly be written about this extraordinary man.

Thursday, Nov. 5, Dr. Tauber died. Dr. Tauber taught Chemistry, especially Organic Chemistry. Therefore McNeese Students (Freshmen) never had him as an instructor. He was an unforgettable teacher to those of us who were privileged to have a class with him.

Dr. Tauber would start a lecture with "Now, check this out, it's special." He would get excited over a reaction and his excitement was contagious. The blank stares on the faces of the students would give way to animation as his enthusiasm spread throughout the room. We learned, after the first semester, not to schedule a class immediately after his class. His enthusiasm often carried him far into the next class period.

Dr. Tuber's tests were notorious. He would thump seven or eight pages of legal size sheets on your desk at the beginning of a 75 minute class. He didn't cut them down much for a 50 minute class either! Boy, those tests were rough; just finishing them was a challenge. He didn't grade easily, and there was no curve, but if you could show him the mechanism to prove that your answer could theoretically work, you got extra points.

Visiting Dr. Tauber's office or lab for help or study advice was an experience itself. Both rooms were so filled with knickknacks, memorabilia and just plain stuff that it was hard to concentrate on Chemistry. Although Chemistry wouldn't be the only subject you would discuss anyway. Dr. Tauber was interested in your plans, your problems and everything about you. He was a lot of help to me personally after a tragedy in my own life. He offered support, advice, and a shoulder to cry on when I needed it.

Dr. Tauber has a nickname for every student. We learned not to wear T-shirts or hats with lettering to class, it would brand you for life. He called me "Lights Out" and "Belle" interchangeably. I don't have any idea where those nicknames came from, and he never explained them. I know he knew my real name; he used it when he introduced me to others.

One of my fondest memories of Dr. Tauber happened about two years ago. I was walking on the sidewalk in front of Kirkman. I had a bad day and was feeling depressed (I blew a Physics test). I heard a rapping and when I looked up, Dr. Tauber was knocking on his office window. He waved frantically at me, motioning me to "come on up." I headed for the east stairs of Kirkman. Before I could get to his office, he met me halfway. "Belle," he exclaimed, while giving me a big hug, "How is it going?" We sat on the stairs and talked. Ninety minutes of gossip later, I was again on my way home, but feeling better.

Dr. Tauber's death deprived McNeese of a great teacher who inspired students, an instructor who took a difficult subject and made it a joy to learn, and a brilliant professor who treated undergraduates as friends and equals.

McNeese will be a poorer place without him. I count myself fortunate to have had him as a teacher and a friend.