Richard Eighme Freiburg
April 26, 2014
Dr. Richard Freiburg is a scientist, educator, professor emeritus, former chair of the Biology Department at MacMurray, and mentor to generations of MacMurray students.
Before beginning his academic career, he served our country in World War II. From 1942 to 1946, he trained as a medic and then a pharmacy assistant in the Navy before being deployed in both the European and the Pacific theaters. Back home after the war, Dr. Freiburg earned a Bachelor of Science in bacteriology in 1948 and a Master of Arts in zoology in 1950, both at the University of Kansas, followed by a Ph.D. at Oregon State University in 1954. For three years he then taught biology at Washburn College in Kansas.
All this was merely a prelude to a career of teaching and leadership at MacMurray, beginning in 1957 and extending more than three decades until his retirement in 1989. During these 32 years, he served as academic advisor to more than 150 students, many of whom went on to graduate school or medical school. Dr. Freiburg was an engaging professor, truly concerned about the success of his students, challenging and supporting them at the same time, with a great wit, which made his classes enjoyable.
During this time, he furthered his own education with summer research projects involving Przewalski’s horses in the Netherlands, in the Galapagos Islands, birds of the Australian rain forest, and shore birds in western Scotland.
In addition to chairing the Biology Department, Dr. Freiburg served the college in other capacities, including, most appropriately, chairing the tree-planting committee for the College grounds. For 15 years, he also served as Faculty Marshal.
When he arrived here in the fall of 1957, he had already formed a lifelong partnership with Dr. Mary Freiburg, who was also his colleague in the Biology department. Generations of MacMurray alumni remember them fondly as their mentors, Ma and Pa Freiburg.
During retirement, Dr. Richard Freiburg has maintained close involvement with the College, attending College activities, helping with alumni relations, providing financial support, and volunteering in many capacities. Twice he has been named Volunteer of the Year.
The College is proud to confer a degree of Doctor of Science on distinguished professor emeritus and lifelong supporter of the College, Richard Freiburg.