Faculty, Feature Story

Remembering Kim Lance

November 4, 2016 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Professor Kim Lance was a member of Ohio Wesleyan's Department of Chemistry for 28 years. He will be missed by all who knew him. (Photo by Sara Blake)

The Ohio Wesleyan community is mourning the loss of chemistry professor Kim Lance, a 28-year faculty member known for his kindness, passion for teaching, and dedication to advancing green and sustainable chemistry. Lance died November 3. 

In sharing the news with the campus, President Rock Jones honored Lance for his “enormous contributions to this community,” a sentiment echoed by many of Lance’s current and former students, colleagues, and friends. 

“Kim Lance cared deeply for his students, something I remember from my student days, as well as from my time working with him as a colleague,” said associate zoology professor Shala Hankison, a 1995 OWU alumna. 

“He was a wonderful teacher – who truly cared,” added Jennifer Stewart Baumgardner, a 1994 alumna, via social media. “His excitement for teaching was amazing and inspirational. He will be greatly missed.” 

Lance’s excitement for chemistry and its potential to improve lives was contagious. 

“Everyone should have a Nobel Prize-winning idea,” he said in a 2009 interview, explaining that his involved finding “fire for water.” 

Specifically, he explained, he was working to design and synthesize “robust oxidation catalysts based on iron(III) diamine-diamide ligand complexes.” 

In other words, Lance was committed to finding an environmentally friendly process to purify water without using harsh chemicals or creating potentially harmful byproducts. 

“The goal is to create a powerful oxidant,” he said, “one that is stable enough not to decompose quickly and one that is reusable.” 

He continued his research up until the time of his death, including working with students each year as part of OWU’s 10-week Summer Science Research Program and supporting them as they presented their findings at venues including the Ohio Inorganic Chemistry Conference. 

Lance himself was published widely in professional journals and had earned grants from the National Science Foundation and the Petroleum Research Foundation. He received his bachelor’s degree from The College of Wooster and his master’s and doctoral degrees from The Ohio State University. 

When he wasn’t in the classroom or laboratory, Lance enjoyed attending Ohio Wesleyan athletic events and umpiring high school and collegiate baseball. 

He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Judy Maxwell, and their three children, James, Marie, and Paul. Read Dr. Lance's obituary and share favorite memories on OWU's Facebook post.