YU Mourns the Passing of Longtime Professor and Retired Chair of Stern College’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The Yeshiva University community mourns the passing of Dr. Lea Blau, Professor Emerita of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Stern College for Women, who died on May 17, 2020.
Dr. Blau joined Stern College in 1979 as a professor of chemistry and eventually became chairman of the department, retiring in 2015. In 2010, she received the Dean Karen Bacon Award for an Outstanding Senior Faculty Member.
“Dr. Lea Blau was the heart and soul of our department over an impressive career of 36 years at Stern. She was a leader and mentor and set an example of strength, excellence and dedication. We benefited from her vision and from her friendship, and she will be very much missed,” said Dr. Chaya Rapp, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Stern College.
Described as “passionate about her teaching” by her colleague Dr. Raji Viswanathan, chair and professor of chemistry at Yeshiva College, Dr. Blau made significant contributions to the organic chemistry and biochemistry curriculum which will last for decades. “I cannot pick up a laboratory manual or experiment where she did not have input,” noted Dr. Don Estes, senior laboratory instructional specialist. “Dr. Blau played a pivotal role in the renovation of the physical space of the chemistry laboratories and offices, which we enjoy today. It was an honor to work for her.”
Born in Brad, Romania, in 1935, Dr. Blau immigrated to Israel in 1951, where she completed her education, culminating in a PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1967. A year later, she came to the United States to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at Rutgers University. Before joining Yeshiva University in 1979, she was an instructor for a decade at Queens College of the City University of New York.
Dr. Blau’s teaching interests included organic chemistry, biochemistry and medicinal chemistry, and she focused her research on physical biochemistry in lipids.
She was a member of the American Chemical Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, the New York Academy of Medicine and the Council on Undergraduate Research as well as the recipient of several awards and grants, including a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Her husband, Alfi Blau z”l, passed away in 2016. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the entire Blau family.