Donald R. Lehman

Don Lehman headshot

Donald R. Lehman

Professor Emeritus of Physics


A Tribute to Donald R. Lehman

Presented on behalf of the Faculty of the Physics Department, GWU
September 23, 2011

Professor Emeritus Donald R. Lehman

We warmly thank our friend and colleague Physics Professor Emeritus and recent Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald R. Lehman, for his formidable contributions to our Department, in friendship, in teaching, in research, in service, and for his sage advice throughout his years with us.

Prof. Donald Lehman has had a long and distinguished career at our University. From 1965 to 1970, while an officer in the Air Force, Don worked toward his doctorate under Prof. Francisco Prats in the field of theoretical nuclear physics. After a postdoc at the National Bureau of Standards, he accepted a faculty position at GW in September of 1972. From the start, his colleagues recognized a brilliant researcher and a person with impeccable intellectual integrity. His talents helped him create a well-funded research group in theoretical nuclear physics. That group was the nucleus for our strong presence in nuclear physics today.  When Don became Chair of the Physics Department (1987‐1993), he was instrumental in helping to build both the theoretical and experimental nuclear physics group and to bolster the condensed‐matter physics faculty.

Don’s success as Chair, and especially his abilities to promote funded research, led to his being selected as Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies in 1993. Even while handling this demanding administrative position, he was able to continue his own research projects. However, he so enjoyed the ability to make an impact on the trajectory of the University, that he applied for and was appointed into the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs in January, 2003.

Don was the founding director of the GWU Center for Nuclear Studies, served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Washington Research Library Consortium, and as a member of Board of the See Forever Foundation. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1988, received a CCAS Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 1989, was named the George Gamow Professor of Theoretical Physics in 2002, and received the GWU Award for outstanding contributions to the University in 2006.

Don’s legacy, created by the strength of his ideas, and established by the fortitude of his convictions, will continue to sustain us individually, and as an institution. [wcp]