Mixter, Russell Lowell 1906-2007

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Mixter, Russell Lowell 1906-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born August 7, 1906, in Williamston, MI; died of heart failure, January 16, 2007, in Carol Stream, IL. Biologist, educator, and author. Mixter was a beloved retired science professor at Wheaton College, where he was popular for his highly entertaining lecture style. The son of a preacher, he originally had his sights on following in his father's footsteps. While still a college student, however, he had the chance to teach a biology class and decided he would make a much better science educator. Mixter did his undergraduate work at Wheaton College, graduating in 1928 and then completing his master's in genetics at Michigan State University in 1930. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1939. By this time, however, he had already been teaching at Wheaton College since 1928. Mixter would remain there for fifty-one years, heading the biology department from 1947 to 1972 and chairing the science division from 1950 to 1961. During these years, he inspired many students to pursue science degrees by making biology a fun and fascinating topic. He was known, for instance, for giving humorous lectures in which he made a human skeleton sit on his lap and talk, or provided the voice for a shark's jaw. While at Wheaton, Mixter also cofounded the Wheaton College Science Station in Rapid City, South Dakota, where he occasionally taught, and he helped establish the West Suburban School of Nursing at Oak Park, Illinois. Mixter did not abandon his religious beliefs, though, just because he taught science. He was a lay preacher and he often gave lectures on the relationship between science and religion and the debate on creationism versus evolution. He was the author of the monograph Creation and Evolution (1951) and editor of Evolution and Christian Thought Today (1959).



Chicago Tribune, January 19, 2007, Section 1, p. 14.