Nebraska Wesleyan is mourning the loss of long-time chemistry professor Dr. Mark Werth who died unexpectedly on Saturday, December 5, 2020.
For 27 years, Dr. Werth touched the lives and shaped the minds of chemistry students at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Throughout his career, he taught chemical principles, organic chemistry, biochemistry, advanced biochemistry and the laboratories that accompanied those classes. He mentored first-year undergraduate students enrolled in the Introduction to Research course and he supervised undergraduates enrolled in upper-level chemistry research courses. Dr. Werth also taught a Liberal Arts Seminar for first-year students titled, “Drugs and Society.”
In 2018, Nebraska Wesleyan honored Dr. Werth as its newest member of the Quarter Century Club for his service to the university and the role his played in providing the distinctive, experience-rich education that means so much to NWU students.
During that recognition, his colleagues in the Department of Chemistry reflected on his impact describing Dr. Werth as accommodating, patient, supportive, innovative, the quiet giant of the department and “pure Prairie Wolf gold.”
Dr. Werth was hailed for his work in creating the biochemistry and molecular biology major, which required extensive cooperation and coordination with academic departments outside his own. The major has attracted a mix of strong academic scholars from across the country. To date, 158 students have graduated with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology and have gone onto medical and graduate school and careers in health and industry.
“Mark is the quiet giant of our department,” colleague and fellow chemistry professor Jodi Ryter said during his Quarter Century Club recognition. “He is an exceptional and generous mentor, an active curriculum scholar, a ground-breaking program developer, and above all, a consummate professional in the classroom. He has served Nebraska Wesleyan University at the highest level, which is the only way he knows how.”
In addition to teaching, Dr. Werth served as chair of the Department of Chemistry from 2002-2006 and interim chair of the Department of Mathematics from January 2018 to July 2018. He also served on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the Institutional Review Board.
Throughout his tenure, his research was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry among others and he presented his research locally, regionally and nationally. He was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society and Nebraska Academy of Science.
The NWU community held a virtual remembrance for Dr. Werth on Friday, December 11. Watch now.