STONY BROOK, N.Y., January 19, 2005-H. Bentley Glass, Ph.D., who rose from high school biology teacher to distinguished geneticist and a former Vice President at Stony Brook University during its earliest years, died Sunday, January 16 of complications of pneumonia at Boulder Community Hospital in Boulder, Colo. He would have turned 99 the next day.
Dr. Glass, a former resident of Port Jefferson Station, was named the university's first Academic Vice President and Professor of Biological Sciences by then-President John S. Toll in 1965 and served in those positions until 1971. According to a history of Stony Brook published by the University, Glass was one of the first distinguished professors ever recruited to Stony Brook, then still a fledgling institution. His career included a number of academic awards and over 200 scientific, professional, and general articles. He also was a member of the National Academy of Sciences as well as a past President of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary society.
At Stony Brook, Dr. Glass was the chief academic officer during the university's formative years, overseeing a faculty that numbered 400; the university now has 1,200 faculty members. He was regarded as one of the foremost authorities on genetics and had previously taught at Johns Hopkins, where he maintained professional associations with key figures in the biomedical fields. He also was instrumental in recruiting to Stony Brook Dr. Edmund Pellegrino in 1966 to begin the planning for the establishment of the Health Sciences Center, which today includes a leading medical school and research enterprise, and Stony Brook University Hospital, a major teaching hospital.
The son of missionary parents, Dr. Glass was born in China in 1906 and largely remained in there until he attended Decatur Baptist College in Decatur, Texas. He later graduated from Baylor University, taught high school biology in tiny Timpson, Texas (pop.1,200), and then went to the University of Texas on a graduate fellowship to conduct research in genetics.
He taught at Stephens College in Missouri and at Goucher College in Maryland before joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins. From 1959-65, he chaired the national Biological Science Curriculum Study, which transformed the instruction of biological sciences and laboratory programs in high schools throughout the U.S.
Dr. Glass is survived by his daughter, Lois Edgar, of Boulder, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A son, Alex Bentley Glass, died in 1991. Dr. Glass' wife, Suzanne, died in 1993.