When Ann Ph.D. ’90 and Joe Ph.D. ’89 Pease met as graduate students in the College of Chemistry, it was frowned upon for group members to be involved romantically. On their first date, they were sitting in a dark theater when none other than David Wemmer, their Ph.D. advisor (and former department chair), leaned in between their seats and said, “Shouldn’t the two of you be in the lab right now?” Social mores aside, they were married in 1989 — and have been dedicated to the college ever since.
Joe, who leads a research group at Genentech, was working at Roche Pharmaceuticals in Palo Alto when it acquired Genentech in 2009. When Roche announced the closure of that site as part of the acquisition, “I started making calls and am happy to say that some top-end lab equipment wound up going to the college,” he says. Several fume hoods and cabinets were distributed to different labs. Joe and Ann, who became an intellectual property attorney, also established the Graduate Student Life Enrichment Fund to support networking and professional development activities jeopardized by a drop in state funding. “One experience we valued was sharing food and drink with fellow students and faculty on Friday afternoons,” says Ann. “We connected with old friends, made new ones, and discussed mutual research endeavors.”
ChemKeg remains a popular event. “This fund makes it possible for students in different labs and fields to interact,” says Chrissy Stachl Ph.D. ’20.
Ann and Joe’s connection through the college has had a long-lasting impact on improving learning and life for chemistry students.