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2013 Spring Issue 4 (May 3, 2013)

Campus Mourns Loss of Beloved Faculty Member Brian Mars

May 5, 2013
By Ben Strauss

This past Monday, students and faculty members received the sad news that Brian Mars, Carleton’s Lab Manager in Chemistry, Instrumentation Specialist, Hazardous Waste Coordinator, and Chemical Hygiene Officer, had passed away over the weekend. Mars was sixty-five, and had just received recognition for having worked at Carleton for thirty years, as he joined Carleton’s Chemistry Department in June of 1983.

In the message sent out to all students, staff, and faculty on Monday, April 29, Carolyn Fure-Slocum, Chaplain, wrote:
“Brian was a vital component of the teaching and research mission of the department. He ensured that the department’s covey of chemical instrumentation was properly running, that appropriate supplies were in stock or ordered, that hazardous materials were properly stored and disposed of, and that student workers were recruited and given assignments. He literally was “on-call” every day, troubleshooting whatever problems people brought to his door. Brian also acquired NMR data for sophomore organic chemistry students. A few years ago he obtained his 10,000th spectrum for Carleton students.

“Brian excelled at solving problems associated with installing, maintaining, and operating equipment and instruments in the chemistry department. He kept a careful eye on the budget, so that the department operated an excellent lab program at the lowest possible cost. He recognized the importance of his job and he was committed to being on campus as much as possible. Over the past ten years, Brian was absent less than a handful of times. He spoke very highly of the students who worked with him and he took pride in their accomplishments.”

Slocum’s email also noted that Brian was a Vietnam War veteran and amateur pilot who loved attending air shows, as well as an actor and director for community theatre in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.

Members of the Chemistry department fondly remember Brian as a helpful, knowledgeable, and fun individual.

“Brian Mars was a silent, caring, efficient, and patient man,” said Alex Kosanovich ’14, a Chemistry major who frequently interacted with Brian while doing research in the chemistry department. “He was someone who could simultaneously and seamlessly be both serious and completely fun-loving from his interactions with students and faculty, to his work keeping the cogs of the chemistry department moving like clockwork.”

“He was consistently helpful in guiding me through procedures and practices, all while doing it with absolute kindness,” said Kosanovich. “I feel that I was lucky to have been given the opportunity to interact with Brian so constantly, and I know that he is and will continue to be missed as not just someone who kept chemistry at Carleton running smoothly, but as a kind, caring individual who had a true heart for the students he met and worked with.”   

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