Alumnus Florida State University chemistry professor Richard Glick (PhD ’54) passed away on June 1, 2018, at the age of 91.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Glick joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from high school He served as a corpsman and pharmacist mate at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital and on a hospital ship as World War II was coming to an end. He then attended the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) where he graduated with three bachelor of science degrees in chemistry, mathematics and physics. In 1954 he received his doctorate in chemistry at UCLA, followed by postdoctoral positions at Brookhaven National Laboratories on Long Island NY and then as a Milton Fillmore fellow at Harvard University. He was an associate professor of chemistry at Penn State University before he joined the Florida State University (FSU) faculty in 1959.
After retiring from FSU in 1995, Glick started his own energy consulting business, Corporation for Future Resources, with the goal of “solving the world’s energy problems by finding renewable alternative fuel sources using bio-mass sources”.
From The Tallahassee Democrat (by Bryon Dobson):
Richard Glick, whose teaching and research career in the Florida State University Department of Chemistry spanned 36 years, died June 1.
He was 91.
At Florida State, Glick’s passion was in research and working with graduate students. Initially, his primary field was in nuclear magnetic resonance.
Upon his retirement, that passion shifted to renewable energy. He created CFR Corporation, an energy consulting business, for which he traveled to Brazil and Europe to conduct research.
“His passion was to solve the world’s energy problems by finding alternative sources of energy,” said his wife, Karen Nutting, owner of Joie de Vivre, a country French gift shop on Market Street.
Sanford Safron, a professor of chemistry at FSU from 1970 to 2008, said Glick was one of the early researchers of nuclear magnetic resonance, which originally was used to look at the structure of organic molecules. Today, it is used as a medical tool, known as MRI.
“He was very knowledgeable,” Safron said. “When he started, he was more of an organic chemist. He migrated to more physical chemistry. His teaching was in physical chemistry.”
(Pictured left: Florida State University chemistry professor Richard Glick giving a lecture at Fisher Lecture Hall in this file photo.)
Safron said Glick was keen on details. An example, he said, was his colleague’s involvement in the design of the Dittmer Chemistry Lab on campus.
“He made sure things were done so the laboratories would be suitable for chemical experiments,” Safron said.
Paul Wine, a professor emeritus in chemistry and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech, said Glick was his Ph.D. adviser at FSU from 1969-1974.
“He got me interested in research, initially,” Wine said. “He was a good guy. He was a very smart guy.”
Wine also described Glick as “somebody who was very recognizable on campus.”
“He was a bit flamboyant,” he said. “He drove a Ford Cobra. It was the fastest car in Tallahassee at the time.”
Nutting recalls that after owning the Shelby Cobra, Glick, later drove a Lotus Europa before settling down with a 1993 Mazda RX-7.
The 25-year-old car recently sold with only 49,000 miles on the odometer.
“He only drove it back and forth to Publix and Panera,” Nutting said.
Glick’s Journey in Academia
Glick, a native of Chicago, attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where he concurrently earned bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, mathematics and physics, Nutting, said.
In 1954, he earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from UCLA, and did post-doctorate studies at Harvard.
Glick and his first wife, the late Roberta “Jo” Glick, moved to Tallahassee in 1959. They were the parents of four children.
His career at FSU would continue until his retirement in 1995.
Glick and Nutting, both divorced, met in the early 80s. She earned her degree in interior design from FSU in 1974. Unable to find a job in her field, she worked as a typist in the Department of Chemistry.
He was 51, she was 24. They married in 2003.
She remembers her husband being inspired by his work with those he taught.
“He was very collegial with his grad students, always up for oysters and beer,” she said of the occasional gatherings.
Glick’s Personal Life
Although he was the scientist and she was more interested in design and interiors, they shared a love for France, where Glick had studied during a 1969 sabbatical. Together, they traveled to France 20 times, taking in the culture, design and research.
Glick’s habit of being a stickler for detail and precision carried over into his personal life.
“He followed the beat of his own drummer,” Nutting said. “He was very compulsive. We ate Friday nights at Kool Beanz (seated at table 23). He was at Panera every morning for coffee at 8 o’clock, and he swam every day at Myers Park.”
Glick continued the swim routine until last October, even though his health had declined in the past year.
At her husband’s request, no funeral or memorial service is being held.
“He’s transitioned into ‘what’s next,’ which is what he used to say,” she said. “He used to say, ‘whatever’s next, I’m ready for it.”
Glick is survived his children, Dan J. Glick, Tallahassee; D’Ann Calams, McKinney, Texas; Randolph Glick, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and Debbie Skinner.