Students and staff were devastated to hear of the passing of Dr. Paul Ogg on July 1, 2016 after his 18 month long battle with T-cell lymphoma.
Dr. Ogg (CBE) taught at Mines for almost a decade as a member of the Chemical and Biological Engineering department. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Albion college and went on to get his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Iowa.
His thesis analyzed the ability of the Herpes Simplex virus to disrupt programmed cell death, a mechanism that could bring about changes in the biology of cancer.
Dr. Ogg had two great passions: teaching and beer. Naturally, he spearheaded the brewing science class at CSM.
Dr. David Marr, head of the CBE department said, “Paul was involved with the establishment of our brewery. He was interested in potentially growing that into opportunities for students to get their masters in brewing.”
Ogg was also interested in the many connections between brewing and biology. He did research on how the genetic modification of yeast could change the taste of beer and was involved with the Great American Beer Festival. Besides the introduction to brewing science class, Ogg taught biology I and II, cell biology, botany, and genetics.
“Paul was part of our original expansion in 2010,” said Marr, referring to the incorporation of the BELS (bioengineering life science) department into the chemical engineering department.
He was passionate about incorporating biology classes into the CSM curricula. One thing is for sure–students absolutely loved Dr. Ogg.
“I don’t know that I ever heard anyone say a cross word about Paul,” CBE program assistant Deanna Jacobs said. “I’ve seen some pretty nasty things written on student evaluations and his were pretty much glowing top to bottom.”
“The students adored him,” Marr agreed. After Ogg’s passing, his Facebook page was covered with comments from former students like: “I owe all of my success to this influential professor,” “Thanks to [Ogg] I developed a passion for genetics and biology,” and “Paul Ogg was not only one of my favorite professors at Mines but an incredible mentor and friend.”
His lectures were highly anticipated and some of them are even posted online for students to continue to enjoy. Besides brewing and teaching, Ogg was also passionate about the community.
“He was a councilman in Erie, CO where he lived before he and his family moved to Golden,” said Jacobs.
One project he was passionately involved in was building a skatepark.
However, Jacobs says, “I don’t know that skating was ever his thing… he just wanted to serve his community.”
On the southwest side of Alderson, students and staff planted a burr oak tree on August 21 in memory of Dr. Ogg.
It was planted in hopes that Ogg’s memory will remain at CSM for as long as possible. The sapling is surrounded by a ring of stones placed by attendees at his memorial service; these stones serve as an homage to his two young daughters, who love collecting rocks.
Dr. Ogg will be remembered for his amazing enthusiasm for biology and teaching. His classes and company were loved by students and faculty.
Marr added “We will certainly miss him. What a fantastic teacher.”