Dr. Gentile joined RCSA in 2005 after 29 years as a professor and dean at Hope College in Holland, MI, where he will return for a two-year appointment as Dean of the Sciences.
“For 100 years, RCSA has funded transformative science, including work by 40 scientists who would go on to win the Nobel Prize, invested in big science projects like the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), and supported outstanding early-career scientist scholar/teachers. Jim Gentile has done an extraordinary job in advancing the foundation and its work, and we are enormously grateful for all that he’s done,” said Gayle Jackson, PhD, Chair of the RCSA Board of Directors. “At the same time, we understand the pull of the classroom and Jim’s desire to return to teaching. Jim has spent most of his life in education, and we can only be pleased that our nation is regaining an exceptional science professor at a time when so much of our nation’s future depends on attracting young people to the sciences and retaining them to pursue scientific careers.”
“It’s been an enormous privilege to lead Research Corporation for Science Advancement and its crucial grant-making and advocacy for science education,” said RCSA President Jim Gentile. “In the end, however, I’ve always loved teaching, and the opportunity to return to the classroom and an institution to which I’ve devoted most of my life was too great to resist. I leave RCSA well-positioned for its next century and in the capable hands of Interim President Jack Pladziewicz and the rest of the RCSA staff.”
Highlights of Dr. Gentile’s remarkable eight-year tenure at RCSA include: the creation of Scialog®, a major, multi-year, grant program designed to accelerate breakthroughs in 21st-century science by funding scientists to pursue transformative multi-disciplinary collaborative research, addressing crucial issues facing society; continued support for the hugely innovative LBT and LSST telescopes; the celebration in 2012 of RCSA’s Centennial – 100 years of advancing science in America; and his tireless advocacy of excellence in science education and dissemination of best practices in teaching and research to help America maintain its scientific and technological preeminence.
Interim President Jack Pladziewicz first joined RCSA as a program officer in 2003 and served as the Vice President from 2008 until his retirement in 2010. Before joining RCSA, he was Professor of Chemistry and Department Chair at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he was on the faculty from 1973 to 2002 and is now Professor Emeritus. He was the Wisconsin CASE Professor of the Year in 1993.
“Jack Pladziewicz is the ideal person to serve as Interim President,” said RCSA Board Chair Gayle Jackson. “He’s a first-rate scientist and educator; he knows RCSA well, and he’s fully committed to the foundation’s pursuit of excellence in science education and advancement. We are extremely grateful to him for providing his leadership at this important time.”