One of UCSB’s Founding Fathers Dies at 92

Friday, March 9, 2001 - 16:00
Santa Barbara, CA

Elmer Ray Noble, professor of zoology emeritus and former campus administrator, died of pneumonia Thursday in Santa Barbara at the age of 92.

He was an internationally known protozoologist and parasitologist.

Noble served the Santa Barbara campus for 38 years before retiring in 1972.

In addition to his teaching and research, he held administrative positions in the period of academic planning when master's degree programs were first added to the curriculum and when the UC Regents in 1958 approved Santa Barbara as a general campus of the university with authorization to offer the Ph.D. degree.

His administrative posts included the first chairmanship of the department of biological sciences from 1947 to 1951, dean of the division of letters and science from 1951 to 1958, and vice chancellor for graduate affairs from 1959 to 1961. As acting provost, Noble served as the chief campus officer from 1956 to 1959.

"Professor Noble played an important role in the growth of this campus, particularly in graduate education," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang.

"His contributions also included important and internationally recognized work in his field of zoology.

His long and dedicated service to this institution is appreciated by all of us in the UCSB community.

Our hearts go out to his family."

In 1978, the former Biological Sciences Building was renamed Elmer Ray Noble Hall in his honor.

At the dedication ceremony, Noble said, "I could not even have been considered for such an honor without first having had years of support and patience from my family, and active collaboration with many generations of students, faculty, and administrators.

I thank them all."

Noble joined the Santa Barbara campus faculty in 1936, after earning his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at UC Berkeley.

He was born in Seoul, Korea to American missionary parents where he lived with his family until he graduated from high school.

His daughter Carolyn says that moving to the United States and attending college here was "a great culture shock and, in fact, he was briefly on academic probation at the end of his freshman year."

A memorial gathering will be held on March 24 at 4 p.m. in the McVeagh House on the grounds of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Noble leaves behind his identical twin brother Glenn, daughters Carolyn Cogan, Elaine Schott and Ellen McKaskle, a son, David Noble, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.