David J. Rausch, PhD

David J. Rausch, PhD



Emeritus – Chemistry

David Rausch joined the St. Procopius College faculty as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1966. He had just finished a post-doctoral year at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) following completion of his Ph.D. at Iowa State University (Ames) in 1965. His dissertation research focused on physical organic chemistry — the synthesis and conformations of cyclopentyl compounds under the direction of Dr. Charles DePuy. He minored in Biochemistry and Inorganic Chemistry. Dr. Rausch had attended St. Procopius College from 1958 to 1962 as a chemistry major and received his B.S. degree and the College’s Science Award in 1962.

He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1968 and Full Professor in 1973. As the organic chemist on the faculty, Dr. Rausch has taught the year-long organic chemistry class to the biochemistry, biology, chemistry, and health science students who have graduated from Benedictine University during his forty year tenure at the University. He introduced the use of microscale laboratory techniques in 1988 to the organic chemistry laboratories; the first college in the State of Illinois to do so and one of the first in the nation. By using very small quantities of chemicals and reprocessing most of the reaction products, these procedures minimize the production of organic compounds that must be disposed of as hazardous waste. This work was recognized by the State of Illinois as an outstanding demonstration of environmental effectiveness. The University received Governor Jim Thompson’s Waste Reduction Award in 1987. Dr. Rausch with the help of his students developed many unique laboratory experiments and introduced the use of computerized data analysis tools for interpretation of experimental data for the organic chemistry laboratory, particularly spectroscopic studies using nuclear magnetic resonance. He has taught a number of faculty workshops at Argonne National Laboratory in NMR interpretation, Spectral Analysis and Chemical Applications of NMR Spectroscopy. He taught review courses in Organic Chemistry and Spectral Analysis to the technicians at BP-AMOCO from 1972-1995.

Dr. Rausch has an excellent record of publications and presentations in organic chemistry (20 publications and 2 patents). He wrote the med cat review book in organic chemistry for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, BAR/BRI Division in 1990. He has been an active member of the American Chemical Society. He has spent a number of summers as a visiting research scientist at Argonne National Laboratory focusing on photochemistry, the synthesis of crown ethers and other organic extractants for heavy metal ion separations and applications of nuclear magnetic resonance studies to examine their metal ion bonding. In addition, he has maintained an active on-campus research program and collaborated with other chemists from BP-AMOCO and NALCO. He has obtained research grants totaling over $100,000 over the years. More than 75 chemistry majors have completed their senior theses under his supervision. His students have presented more than 30 papers at local, regional, and national conferences. Most of these graduates have since completed post-graduate degrees in chemistry, biochemistry and the medical sciences.

During his 40 years at Benedictine University, Dr. Rausch has taught in three different Science Buildings and has served on many committees. He was chairman of the Department of Chemistry from 1977-1982. During this time, he wrote grants to acquire major instrumentation in the department including a 60 MHz NMR, a Gas Chromatograph, a GC-MS, an IR spectrometer, an HPLC, a refrigerated centrifuge, an ultra centrifuge and an external solvent storage shed. He was active in recruiting and during this time Illinois Benedictine College graduated more ACS certified Chemistry/Biochemistry majors than any Catholic College in the country and was fifth in the State of Illinois (behind University of Illinois- Champaign and Chicago, Eastern Illinois and Northwestern). Of particular note are his many years of service on the Faculty Welfare Committee (five years as chairman) and the Health Sciences Recommendations Committee. He also served for 7 years as Faculty Athletic Representative for NCAA compliance. He is an avid fan of Eagles athletics and started the varsity tennis program at St. Procopius College in 1968.

David and his wife Polly celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. They are the parents of six children and grandparents of 12. Remarkably, Polly and all six of their children are also graduates of Benedictine University. In retirement Dr. Rausch is teaching part time and consulting at BP-Amoco. His favorite pastime is traveling to France, California and the Northwest to find outstanding wines.