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Remembering William “Bill” Tucker

The Department of Chemistry remembers and mourns a great teacher, mentor, and colleague, William "Bill" Tucker, Professor Emeritus of Chemical Education and Organic Chemistry.

William "Bill" Tucker Headshot in Black and White

Bill was born on September 23, 1932, in Louisville, Kentucky. He graduated from Dupont Manuel High School and went to Wake Forest University in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Drafted in 1952, he served two years in the Army during the Korean War. He returned to college the same year that the Wake Forest campus was relocated to Winston-Salem. Bill graduated from Wake Forest in 1957 and received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1962. He was a National Institute of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana from 1962-1963.

In 1963, Bill joined the faculty in the Chemistry Department at North Carolina State University. He did research on chemistry and the environment and won the Sigma Xi Outstanding Young Scientist Award in 1969. He became Director of Graduate Studies that year and served in the position until 1974. Bill’s first love was mentoring and teaching; he focused the rest of his career on helping others understand and love science with warmth and humor. He taught for over forty years and was elected to the Academy of Outstanding Teachers in 1974.

Bill served as Director of General Chemistry from 1982 to 1984 and Director of Undergraduate Studies until he retired. In 1986, he received the Alumni Distinguished Professor Award from the University. He was also a faculty advisor and counselor to hundreds of students, whom he frequently personally assisted with buying books or finishing a semester.

William P. Tucker, 89, passed away on May 29th, 2022. A memorial service was held on Saturday, June 18, 2022, in Raleigh.