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Remembering the far-reaching scientific influence of Ray H. Crist '16
Ray Crist with a student

Ray H. Crist,  a visiting professor of environmental studies, collaborated with students on his phytoremediation research (using living plants to purify the environment).

Ray H. Crist, former visiting professor of environmental science and internationally renowned scientist, passed away on Saturday, July 23, 2005, at the age of 105.

A 1916 graduate of Messiah Bible School (the College’s name before it became an accredited four-year post-secondary institution), Crist was a leading student, professor, and researcher in the chemistry field until he retired from Messiah College last year. In 2000, Crist was featured in the PBS series, “The Living Century,” and gained national attention for the innovative work he continued long after his 100th birthday.

Throughout his nearly 80 years in the workforce, Crist’s considerable expertise was evident both in intensive research and in teaching. His research led him to join the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, after which he served as the director of research for several divisions of the Union Carbide Corporation. But Crist spent the bulk of his life teaching, fulfilling his mission to educate students about the impact of science and technology on the environment.

After having taught for 16 years at Columbia University early in his career, Crist resumed teaching in the 1960s, returning to his childhood homeland of central Pennsylvania. He taught first at Dickinson College, then in 1971 joined Messiah’s faculty. Crist contributed to the creation of the environmental science program, and made great strides in the field of phytoremediation (using living plants to purify the environment) until his retirement in 2004. In 1996, Crist established an endowed scholarship to promote research, assisting upper-class students as they seek out answers to life’s pressing questions.

Crist’s lifetime of innovative contributions—to education, science, and the Messiah College community—will not soon be forgotten.

Dulcimer Hope Brubaker '04

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