After 50 years of professorial work, 46 at ENC, Dr. Lowell Hall is retiring, but not without leaving behind a legacy.
Hall graduated from ENC in 1959 with a B.S. in chemistry, and continued at The Johns Hopkins University for his M.A. and Ph.D. in physical chemistry. He has been working at ENC since 1967.
His well-known research includes studying ways to relate the structure of organic molecules to biological problems through modeling. Through this research, a new way to represent molecules—known as Structure Information Representation—came about, which has now become a paradigm for relating molecule structure to properties.
Some of Hall’s writings regarding his research findings can be found in many pharmaceutical research labs around the world, along with the name of Eastern Nazarene College.
Hall is currently working on research with his son, Mark Hall, who also graduated from ENC (’93). The focus of this research is on identifying metabolic pathways, which would allow for early diagnosis of diseases, like multiple sclerosis, and better drug design.
Hall came to ENC focused in chemistry, but had a wide range of interests. As a student studying science, he also was a member of the varsity debate team, editor of the Freshmen Green Book (a collection of freshmen writing), sophomore class president, editor of the newspaper his junior year (known then as the Campus Camera), and active in drama (even though there was no drama program while he was a student).
“It was not on my radar screen to come back to ENC,” said Hall. “Not that I didn’t want to, but I’m not the kind of person who tries to determine the rest of my life. I really believe in God leading us.”
But after three years as a professor at Florida Atlantic University, Hall found himself back at ENC as head of the Chemistry Department. Hall says that his favorite memories involve watching his students grow and develop as chemistry majors and finding their way in the professional world.
He also fondly recalls being cast in the ENC production of “The Music Man” in 2005. He, along with three other Ph.D.s, played the role of the barbershop quartet. His younger grandson, Nick Burt, played Winthrop. Hall was elated by this opportunity; not many people get the chance to act on stage with their grandson, Dr. Hall noted.
Dr. Hall may be retiring, but he is not going far.
“I will still have my office. I plan to be right here and continue research,” said Hall. “This is a wonderful community, and I found that when I was a student here. I wasn’t here just getting chemistry and some gen-ed courses. It’s much more of a whole picture … This community has been home to my family.”
He added, “When you share this Christian faith as we do, and the mission of this college as we do, that joins us together joyfully in a way that doesn’t happen in other settings.”