June 25 – Day 13: In Remembrance of Two Colleagues in the College of Science at Notre Dame

The Notre Dame family has suffered two very significant losses while we have been on the road. Professor Morris Pollard, one of the true Notre Dame legends in the Department of Biological sciences, and Professor Jianguo Cao, a distinguished mathematician who had been with us for 15 years, passed away within the last week. It is always hard to lose a colleague, and these great scholars and teachers will be sorely missed in their departments, in the college and across the University, as well as in their larger fields.

Professor Morris Pollard

Professor Morris Pollard was 95 years old and had been at Notre Dame for 50 years when he passed away on June 18. Morris was professor emeritus of biological sciences and director of our Lobund Laboratory. When he – a prominent Jewish researcher – came to Notre Dame – a Catholic university – he helped establish our community as a place where people of different backgrounds could join in the common purpose of serving humanity. In addition to directing medical research at Lobund, he published more than 300 scientific articles and developed a unique breed of germ-free “Lobund-Wistar” rats to study the mechanisms of disease. His research on virology and cancer led to bone marrow transplants to treat leukemia and sarcomas, and the American Cancer Society bestowed its Hope Award on him.

Professor Jinguo Cao

Professor Jianguo Cao, a native of China who came to us from Cornell in 1996, was only 51 years old when he passed away on June 23. His career was tragically brief, but remarkably productive. He published more than 30 research articles, authored a book on Riemannian geometry, and delivered more than 100 lectures. Jianguo was a world expert in his field, differential geometry, and often spoke at international conferences. He received a Changjiang Chair at Nanjing University in 2007. He was a visiting member of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, Max-Planck Institute for Mathematics in Leipzig, and Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in Paris, as well as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and at Capital Normal University in Beijing. In the Department of Mathematics, he often served on departmental committees and in recent years ran the colloquium and short-term visitor programs.

Like any family, when we suffer loss, we all mourn – and we find strength in each other. We have been riding for nearly two weeks, with miles to go, to do our small part in the fight against NPC. We feel the support of the Notre Dame family that responded so strongly when this disease brought loss to the Parseghian family. We want the Pollard family and the Cao family to feel that same kind of solidarity from us and all of the Notre Dame community. Our sincere sympathy and condolences go out to the families, friends, and colleagues of Professor Morris Pollard and Professor Jianguo Cao.

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