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Horton endowment created to fund biochemistry scholarships

Dr. H. Robert Horton signs the agreement creating the new endowment.
Dr. H. Robert Horton signs the agreement creating the new endowment.

On Sept. 9, Dr. H. Robert “Bob” Horton, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and professor emeritus of molecular and structural biochemistry, and his wife, Roberta, signed a memorandum to establish a new biochemistry scholarship endowment at NC State University.

The H. Robert and Roberta A. Horton Biochemistry Scholarship Endowment was created in an agreement between the Hortons and the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc., in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The endowment will support awards to CALS students based on both merit and need.

Horton is an international authority on protein processes and enzyme systems. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he received his 1956 bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy. His 1958 master’s and his 1962 Ph.D., both in biochemistry, are from the University of Missouri.

He came to NC State in 1964 as assistant professor of chemistry, transferring to the Department of Biochemistry in 1966. He rose in the ranks to full professorship in 1972. He was named an Alumni Distinguished Professor at NC State in 1979. In 1981, he was one of three CALS professors honored with the college’s most distinguished professorship, when he was named a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor.

Presiding at the September signing celebration, held in Polk Hall on the NC State campus, was Dr. E. Stuart Maxwell, interim head of the CALS Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry. Dr. Sam Pardue, CALS associate dean and director of Academic Programs, brought a message of appreciation from college administration. Bob Horton, endowment donor, also spoke at the signing event.

Horton reminisced about meeting his wife, the former Roberta Geehan, at the University of Missouri, where she earned her master’s degree in medical microbiology. He recalled his arrival at NC State in 1964 and the formation of the Department of Biochemistry in 1965. In 1974 he moved his family to Sweden where he was a guest professor in the lab of Dr. Klaus Mosbach. And in 1989 he wrote the first draft of Principles of Biochemistry, an internationally translated text now in its fourth edition.

Among his NC State students was Pardue, who took Horton’s biochemistry graduate course. “Not only was Dr. Horton an outstanding teacher,” Pardue said, “but he was a truly kind person who cared about helping his students learn and be successful.” – Terri Leith

For more information about this and other endowments for the department, please contact Chris Cammarene-Wessel, or 919-515-7678.