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  September 17, 2001

Chemistry Department Head Dies Suddenly at 56

Gary Arnold Epling, professor and head of the chemistry department, died unexpectedly on Sunday, September 9.

Epling, who came to the University in 1980 and became department head in 1994, had an international reputation in environmental chemistry, synthesis of medicinally active compounds, phototoxicity, and the photodegradation of environmental pollutants.

"Dr. Epling was a strong advocate for both the research and the teaching communities and was especially supportive of new initiatives in undergraduate education," said Ross MacKinnon, dean of liberal arts and sciences.

A member of the American Chemical Society and the American Society for Photobiology, Epling was the author of numerous articles and served as an executive board member of the Connecticut Valley Section of the American Chemical Society from 1986 to 1997.

He was an associated scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1985 to 1997, and was a visiting professor in photomedicine in the dermatology department at Harvard Medical School in 1985.

Born in Pikeville, Ky., Epling, 56, earned an S.B. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a National Merit Scholar; and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He held a postdoctoral research position in synthetic organic electrochemistry at Yale from 1972 to 1973.

An assistant professor of chemistry at Fordham, Epling came to UConn as an associate professor in 1978, was promoted to associate professor in 1980, and became a professor in 1987.

He is survived by his wife, Lee, two daughters, Kaithlin and Chelsea, and a son, Brian, all of Storrs, and other family members.

Karen A. Grava

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