Rider mourns the loss of Dr. Bruce Burnham

Burnham was a professor in the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics
Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Rider University community mourns the loss of Dr. Bruce Burnham, professor in the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics. Dr. Burnham passed away on April 2, 2014, at the age of 51.

Dr. Burnham joined the faculty of Rider in 1998. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2004 and full professor in 2013. He taught courses in biochemistry and organic chemistry, along with specialty courses in toxicology and medicinal chemistry. He received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and doctorate in medicinal chemistry, both from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

He was active in research, mentoring numerous Rider undergraduates and students from local community colleges and high schools through the American Chemical Society’s Project SEED. His primary research can be characterized as the development of organic compounds that would have potential pharmaceutical application against diseases from cancer to viral infections. He published 32 articles in peer-reviewed journals and he and his students often gave presentations of their work at regional and national research conferences. In addition to being very active in on-campus committees and activities, Dr. Burnham was also very active in the affairs of the Trenton Section of the American Chemical Society.

“Bruce was a valued colleague and a good friend to all of us in the science building,” Dr. Alexander Grushow, chair of the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics, said. “He had a unique way of interacting with his students. His commitment to his work and his work with students will have a lasting legacy both on our department and the university as a whole. He will be missed.”

The entire Rider family extends its sincerest condolences to Bruce’s companion, Rita Lavoie, and his two sons, Patrick and Richard.  

Flags on campus will be flown at half-staff in Dr. Burnham’s honor.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on May 31 at the Gill Memorial Chapel on the Lawrenceville campus with a reception to follow.

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Dr. Burnham joined the faculty of Rider in 1998.