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  March 25, 2002

Henry Nathaniel Andrews, 1911-2002

Henry Nathaniel Andrews Jr., professor emeritus and chair of the botany department at UConn from 1965 to 1975, died in Sanbornton, N.H., on March 3. He was 91.

"Henry was an outstanding individual, a friend, and truly a giant in the field of paleobotany," says Frank Trainor, an emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who worked with Andrews. "He was instrumental in developing the strength we presently maintain in biology in general, and especially botany."

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Geological Survey, Andrews' professional life was rich with outstanding accomplishments. He wrote many papers on fossil plants and six books, including a classic textbook in his field.

When he retired in 1975, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology was the recipient of his extensive fossil plant collection.

Jim Slater, also an emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, remembers Andrews as "a first-class scientist and a first-class person."

Slater was working with Andrews when a call came in with the news that Henry had been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

"Henry was not in the office," Slater recalls, "so I left him a note. When he returned and read the message, he came into my office, shook his head, and said simply, 'What do you think of that?'"

"As far as I know," says Slater, "Henry was the very first biologist from the University of Connecticut to be named to the National Academy of Sciences, yet he was very modest about his accomplishments."

Terry Webster, another emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, who joined the UConn faculty in 1965, remembers Andrews as a great mentor, role model and friend.

"I respected Henry's professionalism, his integrity and his strength of character,"

Webster says. "Henry received many accolades from his profession over the years, but he never let it go to his head."

Webster recalls a 90th birthday party at the family farm in New Hampshire the year before Andrews' death.

"It was wonderful that so many of Henry's former colleagues and graduate students came to New Hampshire to help him celebrate. It was the only time I ever saw him when he was willing to bask in the affection and admiration that were expressed on that occasion."

Andrews was born in Melrose, Mass. He completed his undergraduate training at MIT in 1934 and master's and doctoral degrees in paleobotany from Washington University in St. Louis. Before coming to UConn in 1965, Andrews lived in St. Louis, Mo., where he was professor of botany and later dean of the Henry Shaw School of Botany at Washington University. He was also concurrently paleobotanist and assistant to the director at the renowned Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

Andrews was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Elisabeth (Lib) Andrews. They are survived by three children.

Memorial donations may be made to the Henry N. Andrews Endowment Fund, c/o The UConn Foundation, 2390 Alumni Drive, Storrs, CT 06269-3206.

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