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Caltech Remembers Professor Fred C. Anson, 1933–2024

Published on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | 5:12 am

Fred C. Anson (BS ’54), the Elizabeth W. Gilloon Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, who served as chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from 1984 to 1994, passed away on May 22. He was 91.

Anson was born and raised in South San Gabriel, California, where he had a paper route for the Los Angeles Times. He first came to Caltech as an undergraduate, studying chemistry on a scholarship from the LA Times. He was senior captain of Caltech’s 1954 basketball team, which won the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship. He went on to earn his doctoral degree in chemistry from Harvard University in 1957 but returned the same year to Caltech as an instructor.

Anson spent his entire career at Caltech. In 1958, he was appointed assistant professor, became an associate professor in 1962, a full professor in 1968, and the Gilloon Professor in 1995. His research focused on the kinetics, mechanisms, and catalysis of electrode reactions. In particular, he was interested in understanding the behavior of reactants attached to the surface of electrodes.

He served as the executive officer for chemistry from 1973 until 1977 before being named chairman of the division in 1984. He also chaired the presidential search committee that resulted in the selection of Marvin L. Goldberger to be Caltech’s fifth president. Anson retired in 2001 and moved to Santa Barbara.

Anson is survived by his wife, Roxana Anson; his daughter Alison Anson; his son Eric Anson and daughter-in-law Linda Anson; and his sister, Liane Anson Hawkins.

A full obituary will be published at a later date.

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