Six University of Idaho grads welcomed into Alumni Hall of Fame


MOSCOW, Idaho — May 13, 2022 — The University of Idaho Alumni Association has inducted six Vandals into its Alumni Hall of Fame.

The 2020, 2021 and 2022 Hall of Fame alumni will be recognized at a luncheon on Friday, May 13 and the U of I Commencement on Saturday, May 14 in Moscow. Alumni honored are: Richard Swindell ’72, Brian Hill ’65, Charles T. Ratcliffe ’67, Dennis T. Sauer ’72, Ramesh C. Kumar ’81, and Virginia Brodin Wright ’67, ’69. Read their full biographies at the Hall of Fame.

Richard F. Swindell ’72

Richard Swindell of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, received his PhD in Chemistry from the U of I in 1972. While at the U of I, he had seven publications accepted by national and international chemistry journals. He then worked to support a movement for the education and stimulation of retirees called University of the Third Age, securing funding which helped launch over 30 member groups in Queensland. In recognition of his work on pensioner education, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia, one of the country’s highest honors for outstanding achievement and service.

Brian Hill ’65

Brian Hill graduated from the U of I in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, later earning a doctorate in chemistry from Montana State University. He capped a 35-year career as Global Technical Director of 3M’s Commercial Office Supplies Division, where he helped introduce new products that combined Scotch Tape and Post-It technologies using sustainable production. He retired as business manager of Light Management Ventures, winning 3M’s Golden Step Award in recognition for Vikuiti Enhanced Reflective Film with over $1 million in profitable first-year sales.

Charles T. Ratcliffe ’67

Charles Thomas Ratcliffe received a bachelor’s degree in 1961, a master’s degree in 1964 and a doctorate. in 1967 – all from the U of I. His work at Allied Chemical Corporation was instrumental in separating environmental pollutants from natural gas and flue gases. He has received numerous awards, including the Richard A. Glenn Award for Bituminous Coal Research from the American Chemical Society. Ratcliffe holds 16 patents and has authored or co-authored over 25 papers.

Dennis T Sauer ’72

Dennis Sauer received a research fellowship at the U of I which allowed him to pursue doctoral studies. Sauer’s work at Hercules, Inc., a chemical and munitions manufacturing company, helped develop materials that saved the U.S. Navy hundreds of billions of dollars for its deterrent missile system strategic submarine-based. He also contributed to the work of the Hubble Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. He has served on the Utah State Science Advisory Board and as a Utah Science Advisor.

Ramesh C. Kumar ’81

Ramesh C. Kumar obtained his second doctorate in chemistry from the University of the Island. As a senior research chemist at 3M, Kumar developed technology that became the basis for several products and helped 3M eliminate more than 60 million pounds of solvent use. From 2010 until his retirement in 2019, Kumar was appointed to 3M’s highest technical position as a corporate scientist – one of 30 scientists out of 8,500 research and development employees. He received 3M’s highest honor in 2009, when he was inducted into the 3M Carlton Society.

Virginia Brodin Wright ’67 ’69

Virginia (Ginger) Brodin Wright earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Island University before embarking on a teaching career spanning nearly four decades. A teacher in the Northwest, Wright supported residents and miners whose lives were affected by the 1972 Sunshine Mine disaster in Idaho’s Silver Valley with adult basic education classes. In 1989, she contributed to a United States Department of Education program to improve elementary science education and served as Washington State site coordinator for a pilot technology-based planetary science program. for young students.

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