James Spain inducted into honorary academy

Dr. James Spain, 92, of Houghton was recently inducted into the Distinguished Alumni Academy for the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech. The induction banquet was held in the Rosza Lobby on Oct. 7, and included faculty and department chairs from across the College, as well as friends and family of the inductee.

Spain was a 1951 chemistry graduate of the then-named Michigan College of Mining and Technology. Soon after completing his doctorate at Stanford, Dr. Spain returned to Tech in 1956 as an assistant professor of chemistry. In 1962, he became Professor and Head of the newly formed Department of Biological Sciences, while continuing his cancer research. He spent 28 years at Tech before moving briefly to Eastern Michigan University, and then finishing his teaching career as a chemistry lecturer and director of computerized instruction at Clemson University.

Jim retired from teaching in 1995 to start the company, Electronic Homework Systems, with the help of his wife, Pat. He created and published a software program, Chem Skill Builder, which for the first time provided an encrypted record of the student’s work, to the instructor. Over 750,000 copies of this software were sold to college and AP Chemistry students across the country from 1995 to 2011.

Jim has written 25 research articles in professional journals and co-wrote two textbooks on the application of computers to biological sciences and numerous instructional software programs. Most recently Jim has completed his personal autobiography, Perusing for Pioneer Pathways, available on Amazon.com. After the dinner, he graciously provided and autographed copies for many of the attendees.

Jim was introduced by his former student James Mitchell, class of 1965. Mitchell was one of the first inductees into the Academy, and is also a former head of the Tech Board of Control.

A plaque bearing Jim’s photo and biography will join those honoring other members of the distinguished academy on the wall outside the dean’s office in the Walker Arts and Humanities building.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today