Donald Newton Langenberg, 86, of Dickeyville, MD, physicist and university administrator, died on Friday, January 25, at his home.
Born in Devils Lake, North Dakota, Dr. Langenberg was raised by his deaf parents, Fern and Ernest Langenberg, graduates of Gallaudet University; his beloved aunt, Beulah Newton; and his Iowa farmer grandparents, Lewis and Bessie Newton. He was sent to his Iowa grandparents at the age of three to learn appropriate English. There he entered first grade at the age of four at the local one room country school. Following completion of second grade he returned to his parents in North Dakota, but was forced to repeat second grade because of his size and age.
Dr. Langenberg earned his physics degrees from Iowa State University (B.S.), University of California, Los Angeles (M.S.) and University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.), and was an expert in the areas of superconductivity, condensed matter, and low temperature physics. He began his teaching and research career at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also served as the director of the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, and Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research. He also taught and collaborated at the University of Oxford, the École Normale Supérieure, the California Institute of Technology, and the Technische Universität München.
In 1980 he was named Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation by Jimmy Carter. His career in science and university administration continued in 1983 as Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Chicago, and in 1990 as Chancellor of the University System of Maryland.
His later life included service on many boards and expert committees, with a particular focus on advancement of K-16 (STEM) education. He was a trustee at the University of the District of Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, and president of several professional organizations, including the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as Chair of the National Reading Panel, charged by Congress to study the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching children how to read and to report on application of its findings in the classroom and the home. Dr. Langenberg was also a leader in the development of the Professional Masters Degree in the natural sciences.
Among the awards he received are the John Price Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute and the Distinguished Contribution to Research Administration Award of the Society of Research Administrators. He also received honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, the State University of New York, and Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Langenberg is survived by his wife, Patricia (Warrington), with whom he shared more than 65 years of intellectual curiosity, travel, and frequent laughter. His memory is also celebrated by son John, daughters Karen, Julie, and Amy, 7 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the University of Maryland Medical School’s Leadership Hall, 655 W Baltimore St, Baltimore.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the UMBF (University of Maryland, Baltimore Foundation) in support of the University of Maryland Heart & Vascular Center. Please make checks payable to UMBF, Inc. and indicate in memory of Dr. Donald Langenberg on the memo line. Send your gift to: University of Maryland School of Medicine, Development Office, Attn: Patricia Bates, 31 South Greene Street, 3rd Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201. Please call 410-706-8503 with any questions. Gifts may also be made online at www.medschool.umaryland.edu/hvcgift.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the UMBF (University of Maryland, Baltimore Foundation) in support of the University of Maryland Heart & Vascular Center.
Please make checks payable to UMBF, Inc. and indicate in memory of Dr. Donald Langenberg on the memo line. Send your gift to: University of Maryland School of Medicine, Development Office, Attn: Patricia Bates, 31 South Greene Street, 3rd Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201.
Gifts may also be made online at www.medschool.umaryland.edu/hvcgift.
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