Frank Mayer Goyan, Chemistry: San Francisco

Professor Emeritus

Frank Mayer Goyan, professor of chemistry, was born in Placerville, California, on June 22, 1908. After completing high school in this gold-rush town in 1926, Frank entered the University of California at Berkeley. He obtained B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry in 1930, 1931 and 1937, respectively, and, while a graduate student in Berkeley, taught part time in the School of Pharmacy in San Francisco. Upon completion of his doctorate, he was appointed as an instructor in chemistry within the school. Thus began a lifetime career dedicated to the teaching of chemistry and physical chemistry, during which he served under five Deans, Henry C. Biddle, Henry B. Carey, Carl L.A. Schmidt, Troy C. Daniels and Jere E. Goyan.

Frank's Ph.D. dissertation research in the Department of Chemistry on the Berkeley campus employed practical and theoretical aspects of electrochemistry. It consisted of an evaluation of certain thermodynamic properties of individual ions in solution. Frank's initial appointment in the School of Pharmacy, as a part-time associate, involved him first as a teaching assistant in general chemistry and later in quantitative analytical chemistry. When he obtained the Ph.D. degree in Berkeley, the School of Pharmacy was expanding its curriculum to give the professional pharmacy students a richer basic science background; one of the subjects chosen for introduction was physical chemistry. To fulfill this curricular goal, Frank accepted a regular academic appointment as an instructor in chemistry.

A by-product of the teaching laboratory he initiated in physical chemistry was the development of what we believe is the first integrated electrochemical pH meter used to demonstrate the principles of thermodynamics. Two student coauthors on the publication (1940) describing this “universal pH meter and simplified vacuum-tube electrometer” were “D. Barnes and H. Hind,” names familiar since then within the pharmaceutical world. The importance of pH in ophthalmic solutions was explored and explained in several subsequent articles. One of these articles earned for Frank and

Harry Hind the coveted Ebert Prize of the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1948.

Isotonicity, another physicochemical property related thermodynamically to osmotic pressure, was studied in his laboratory and came to be recognized as important in the preparation of ophthalmic solutions. Frank's bibliography includes a series of papers on the development of electronic methods for measurement of isotonicity and other applications of osmotic pressure, including the detection of dimerization and complex formation in solutions of mixed solutes.

Frank was an extraordinary faculty member--extraordinary for his interest in both the education and welfare of his students. Many students were given interest-free loans with no questions asked. This generous act was even more common during his duties as acting dean of students for the entire campus when he gave his secretary signed blank personal checks to take care of students in need of emergency loans. Frank gave financial and moral support to many student functions. Hundreds of pharmacy and graduate students remember the late-night “pizza” retreats for which Frank always insisted on picking up the tab.

Students in scholastic difficulty were always given special consideration. Frank would not yield to improper conduct or false excuses but, if he felt a student's problem was real, he would do everything he could to help the student resolve it. It is no wonder that he affectionately became known as “Uncle Frank.”

There is no doubt that Frank enjoyed every bit of his University work. When enumerating his duties in conversations with his non-University friends, he would report that he spent his time talking with people, reading magazines, doing fun experiments and writing. They would invariably respond that his job (as he described it) sounded like leisure time. He would agree and facetiously ask them not to tell the Regents, for they would then charge him for the privilege rather than pay him a salary.

In recognition of Frank Goyan's contributions to the University through his teaching, his research and his interactions with his students, a memorial reading/conference room is being established by the School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, on the nomination and contributions of an alumnus who was his Ph.D. protege. The room will be located on the fourth floor of the main building on the Laurel Heights Campus, a facility to which the research faculty of the school is expecting to move in 1989. The room is a fitting memorial to this faculty member who opened his mind, his heart, his house and his pocketbook to so many who have been associated with the school.

Thomas N. Tozer L. Dallas Tuck