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A Professor’s Passion

posted Apr 27, 2012, 8:14 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Apr 27, 2012, 8:15 AM ]

Beloved pharmacognosy professor establishes the College’s Edward S. and Josephine E. Mika Endowed Professorship

Edward Mika had a passion for teaching.

Edward and Josephine Mika had a strong desire to support the pharmacognosy program at UIC

It was exactly this fervor that inspired Mika and his wife, Josephine, to establish a bequest creating the Edward S. and Josephine E. Mika Endowed Professorship—the first endowed professorship at the College.

Edward graduated from the University of Chicago in 1942 and earned a master’s degree from Washington State University in 1950 and a doctorate in botany from the University of Chicago in 1954. He also earned the equivalent of a doctorate in chemistry there. Before joining UIC faculty in 1961, he worked at the Argonne National Laboratory as a radiobiologist and at the University of Chicago as a research associate in botany and pharmacology.

He was among the first group of pharmacognosy faculty hired at UIC in the early 1960s. Edward research focused on the chemical composition, growth and development of medicinal plants and was recognized for his work as a recipient of the prestigious Newcomb Award in Pharmacognosy. A beloved teacher, Edward’s classroom demeanor earned him the Golden Apple and the UIC Silver Circle teaching awards during his tenure. He passed away in 1998.

Josephine, who resides in Munster, Ind., is a retired executive secretary of Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant. She worked at Ford for 36 years.

The Mikas also have a commitment to endow a scholarship fund that helps pharmacy students at UIC.

“We wanted to give to someone worthy and give them the incentive to go on with their studies,” says Josephine. “We felt very proud to have done our part in this worth endeavor.”

Concerning the Mika Professorship, Josephine says, “He and I spoke about this for some time. We don’t have a family and wanted to bequeath for the purposes of education, particularly in pharmacognosy. As a member of the College of Pharmacy faculty for so many years, Dr. Mika’s desire was to remember UIC with a generous monetary gift to carry on with the curriculum in the field of pharmacognosy. He enjoyed his work immensely, loved the environment and loved the people.”