Biochemistry Milestones

Biochemistry celebrates 40th anniversary of joint department, 100th birthday of long-time professor

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t’s not every day you get to celebrate a 40th anniversary, let alone a 100th birthday. But on Sept. 2, Biochemistry celebrated both in one day – “Bridging the Boundaries for the Greater Good” highlighted the 40th anniversary of the Biochemistry Department as a joint unit of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the School of Medicine and Dr. Boyd O’Dell’s 100th birthday.

Kamal and Sudha Yadav have established a scholarship, which Julia Brose was awarded. Left to right: Sudha Yadav, Kamal Yadav, Julia Brose, George Garner.Kamal and Sudha Yadav have established a scholarship, which Julia Brose was awarded. Left to right: Sudha Yadav, Kamal Yadav, Julia Brose, George Garner.

The planning committee, consisting of Biochemistry Chair Jerry Hazelbauer, and Professors Doug Randall, Warren Zahler, Judy Wall, Frank Schmidt and Dave Emerich, spent months planning how best to properly commemorate such milestones. More than 200 people attended the day’s events including building tours, poster displays, a luncheon with graduate and postdoc students, biochemistry presentations, a reception and dinner.

Master of Ceremonies Frank Schmidt welcomed attendees and shared the history of the Biochemistry Department with the nearly filled Monsanto Auditorium.  The early session wrapped up with a surprise gift announcement when Dr. Kamal “Doc” (PhD ’66) and Sudha Yadav, established the George B. Garner Scholarship in CAFNR honoring Dr. Garner’s selfless dedication to students. Garner, a long-time professor jointly appointed in both Biochemistry and the Division of Animal Sciences.

Shortly after Kamal arrived in the U.S. from India to study at MU, Garner hired him as a graduate student in his laboratory studying food animal toxicology and environmental issues related to food animals. Kamal went on to found CHEMCO, a St. Louis-based chemical company in 1975. He and Sudha have been admirers of and indebted to Dr. Garner for the last 55 years for his mentorship and kindness and were proud to honor him by establising the Dr. George B. Garner Scholarship to support CAFNR students studying either biochemistry or animal sciences.

The O'Dell family, front row, from left to right: David O’Dell, Boyd O’Dell, Ann O’Dell Wingo, Josh Petrillose. Back row, from left to right: Gary O’Dell, Mary O’Dell, Derek Rardon, Mimi Wingo, Carl Wingo, Connie Rardon, Meg PetrilloseThe O’Dell family, front row, from left to right: David O’Dell, Boyd O’Dell, Ann O’Dell Wingo, Josh Petrillose. Back row, from left to right: Gary O’Dell, Mary O’Dell, Derek Rardon, Mimi Wingo, Carl Wingo, Connie Rardon, Meg Petrillose

An even bigger surprise to the Yadavs was that the first recipient of the scholarship had already been chosen and was there to meet them – Julia Brose, junior in biochemistry from Wildwood, Missouri. So compelling was the story of how she was selected and surprised her donors at the event, she was chosen to speak at CAFNR’s Scholarship Donor Recognition Dinner Oct. 26.

Afternoon presentations by notable alumni and leading biochemistry researchers focused on the career of Dr. O’Dell and trace mineral research at the University of Missouri. The afternoon culminated with the naming of the bridge which connects Schweitzer Hall and the Schlundt Annex as the “Professor Boyd L. O’Dell Bridge of Discovery,” honoring his work with the college and school.

A reception and dinner in the Bond Life Sciences Center consisted of more than 200 colleagues and friends who gathered to celebrate O’Dell’s 100th birthday. Many family members showed up to surprise him.

It was a special ending to an historic day of events.

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