MOSCOW, Idaho — May 13, 2022 – The University of Idaho Alumni Association has inducted six vandals into its Alumni Hall of Fame.
Alumni Hall of Fame inductees from 2020, 2021 and 2022 will be recognized at a Friday, May 13, luncheon and the U of I Commencement on Saturday, May 14, in Moscow. The honored alumni 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 bios at the Hall of Fame.
Richard F Swindell ’72
Richard Swindell of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, earned his doctorate in chemistry from U of I in 1972. While at U of I, he had seven publications accepted by national and international chemistry journals. He later worked to support a movement for retiree education and stimulation called University of the Third Age, securing funding that helped launch more than 30 member groups in Queensland. In recognition of his work on retirement education, he was named a member of the Order of Australia, one of the nation’s highest awards recognizing outstanding achievement and service.
Brian Hill ’65
Brian Hill graduated from U of I in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, before earning a doctorate in chemistry from Montana State University. He capped a 35-year career as global technical director for 3M’s Commercial Office Supply Division, where he helped introduce new products combining Scotch Tape and Post-It technologies using sustainable production methods. He retired as business manager for Light Management Ventures, earning 3M’s Golden Step Award in recognition for Vikuiti Enhanced Reflective Film with more than $1 million in profitable sales in the first year.
Charles T Ratcliffe ’67
Charles Thomas Ratcliffe earned a bachelor’s degree in 1961, a master’s in 1964 and a Ph.D. in 1967 – all from U of I. His work at Allied Chemical Corporation was critical to separating environmental pollutants from natural gas and flue gas. He received numerous awards, including the Richard A. Glenn Award in bituminous coal research from the American Chemical Society. Ratcliffe holds 16 patents and has authored or co-authored more than 25 articles.
Dennis T Sauer ’72
Dennis Sauer received a research fellowship at U of I that allowed him to pursue a doctoral degree. Sauer’s work at Hercules, Inc., a chemical and munitions manufacturing company, assisted in developing materials that helped save the US Navy hundreds of billions of dollars for its submarine-based strategic deterrent missile system. He also contributed work to the Hubble Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. He served on the Utah State Science Advisory Council and as Utah’s science advisor.
Ramesh C Kumar ’81
Ramesh C. Kumar earned his second doctoral degree in chemistry from U of I. As a senior research chemist at 3M, Kumar developed technology that became the foundation for several products and helped 3M eliminate over 60 million pounds of solvent usage. From 2010 until his retirement in 2019, Kumar was appointed to 3M’s highest technical position of corporate scientist — one of 30 scientists out of 8,500 research and development staff. He received 3M’s highest honor in 2009, when he was admitted to the 3M Carlton Society.
Virginia Brodin Wright ’67 ’69
Virginia (Ginger) Brodin Wright earned her bachelor’s and master’s in education from U of I before launching a nearly four-decade teaching career. Teaching across 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. She contributed to a 1989 US Dept. of Education program to improve elementary science education and served as the Washington State site coordinator for a technology-based planetary science pilot program for young students.
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