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>  News Releases >   2007 >   February

In Memoriam: John Walter Strohbehn, former provost and professor at Dartmouth(1936 - 2007)

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 02/23/07
Sue Knapp • (603) 646-3661

John Walter Strohbehn
John Walter Strohbehn

John Walter Strohbehn, 70, of Durham, N.C., and Enfield, N.H., died in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 22, 2007, after a long illness.

He was born in San Diego, Calif., Nov. 21, 1936, son of the late Walter W. Strohbehn and Gertrude Powell Strohbehn. He graduated valedictorian from Coronado High School, in Coronado, Calif. He was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and he received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.

In 1963, Strohbehn began his teaching career at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, N.H., as an assistant professor at the Thayer School of Engineering. He was the associate dean of the Thayer School from 1976-1981, and the Sherman Fairchild Professor of Engineering from 1983-1990. He was appointed provost of Dartmouth and served in that role from 1987-1993. In total, he served on the faculty and in the administration at Dartmouth for 31 years.

Strohbehn relocated to Durham, N.C., where he served as provost of Duke University from 1994-1999, and he was also appointed professor of biomedical engineering and civil and environmental engineering prior. He retired Professor Emeritus in 2003.

He was a founding fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Optical Society of America. In 1991, he was the recipient of the Eugene Robinson Award for outstanding contributions to hyperthermic oncology. In 1999, he received the Robert Fletcher award from Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. As a mark of respect for his dedication to teaching and research in biomedical engineering, Dartmouth Medical School annually awards a medical student the John W. Strohbehn Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research.

Strohbehn's early research in engineering focused on radiophysics, including microwave and laser propagation. He was selected for the National Academy of Sciences' Scientist Exchange Program in Moscow (then the USSR), in 1967. His interests later focused on biomedical engineering, medical imaging, and hyperthermia for cancer treatment. During his prolific career, he authored more than 100 papers on electromagnetic wave propagation effects and the engineering aspects of hyperthermia. He was on the scientific and editorial boards for numerous national and international scientific journals. In 1988, he was co-awarded a patent for a stereotactic operating microscope. He later developed an interest in global warming and spent sabbatical years at the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., in 1993, and at the Center for Environmental Science and Policy at Stanford University, in 1999.

He was active in the Upper Valley community of Vermont and New Hampshire where he served on the Norwich Recreational Board in Norwich, Vt. A former Eagle Scout himself, he also served as scoutmaster for Norwich Boy Scout Troop 253. He enjoyed hiking, biking, and skiing, and was an avid runner.

Strohbehn leaves his wife, Barbara Strohbehn, of Durham, N.C., and Enfield, N.H. He is also survived by a sister, Barbara Strohbehn, of San Mateo, Calif., and three children, Jo Strohbehn of Hanover, N.H., and Kris Strohbehn and Carolyn Strohbehn Sailer, of Brownsville, Vt., as well as five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Dartmouth in April.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Bryan Alzheimer's Research Center at Duke University, Box 3503 DUMC, Durham NC, 27705; the Alzheimer's Association; or the Scholarship Fund of the Dartmouth Society of Engineers, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, 8000 Cummings Hall, Hanover NH, 03755.

The family would like to thank the staff of Hanover Terrace for their compassion and loving care of John.

In a statement, his family said, "Deeply loved by his family, treasured by his students, respected by his colleagues, John gave unhesitatingly of himself. He will be greatly missed."

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