Kandace Taylor, marketing and public relations director, Office for Advancement
A simple question often asked is, “What is it?” Throughout the day, the question can easily arise and lead to any number of simple responses. That same question to a chemist, however, can be much more complex. Chemists turn to science and trusted instruments in order to identify exactly what something is – or what it could become.
Throughout his storied career, David von Minden answered this very question through the use of mass spectrometry. The analytical technique was a specialty of the professor whose passion for chemistry strengthened the UCO Chemistry Department when he came on board in 1996. At Central, he shared his expertise with a multitude of students and his devotion to natural science only grew
His rapport with students was easy, and he could quickly identify pupils who would make excellent chemists – sometimes even successfully encouraging them to switch majors to chemistry. It was this connection to students that inspired von Minden to establish a planned gift at UCO. He wanted his impact to continue at Central for many years to come.
An advocate for others, von Minden’s contributions to campus can be felt through his tireless work as president of the UCO chapter of the American Association of University Professors to his tenacity in implementing change to the university’s tenure and promotion process for faculty. He also served as faculty advisor for the chemistry club, and his devotion to the club was admired by students.
One of his favorite hobbies outside of chemistry was working in his garden. He had a knack for growing heirloom tomatoes and chile peppers – the spicier the better. Much like the cultivation of his own garden, it was important for von Minden to sow the seed of chemistry education at Central.
Close friend and former colleague, Dallas New, Ph.D., recalls von Minden seeking to honor his family through the naming of the scholarship made possible through his planned gift. The von Minden Family Endowed Scholarship was established to provide financial assistance to UCO students pursuing a degree in chemistry as well as support the chemistry department.
It was apparent to friends and fellow professors that von Minden recognized the importance of working hard in the present in order to yield a return in the future. During his time on campus, he was proud to give and was a Presidential Partner for several years. von Minden’s spirit of giving was established before he passed in 2021 and that ethos will continue through his forward-thinking of setting up a planned gift.
If you have an interest in finding out more about leaving a lasting impact at Central through a planned gift, reach out to Brenda Knott, associate vice president of the UCO Foundation. Knott can walk you through the process to ensure that your planned gift will be carried out exactly as you envision, and most importantly – that your influence and passion will continue to be felt at UCO.