James Ronald Lepock (1948-2005)

Jim Lepock was born in Grant Town, West Virginia. He obtained degrees from West Virginia (B.S. 1970, M.S. 1972) and Penn State (Ph.D. 1976) Universities before moving to Canada in 1977 to begin an appointment at the University of Waterloo.

Jim served as Chair of the Department of Physics at the University of Waterloo from 1993 to 2002, when he came to the University of Toronto to take the position of Chair of the Department of Medical Biophysics.

In many ways, Jim was an ideal candidate to lead the Department of Medical Biophysics, as his research interests lay at the boundary between physics and biology. He was an enthusiastic and approachable individual whose readiness to speak to graduate students was very welcome. From the perspective of graduate students, his tenure in the Department of Medical Biophysics was short but extremely productive. He sought student input during an intensive OCGS review of the department, and worked hard to implement the changes suggested.

Jim encouraged the active involvement of faculty in the training and mentoring of graduate students, and certainly led by example. He was a regular fixture at the weekly student seminars at the OCI, and always had an inquisitive question or two afterwards. One truly got the sense that Jim was keenly interested in the subject being presented, and his questions were often coupled with praise for the student presenting.

Jim was always a sound supporter of the Medical Biophysics Student Executive, and particularly student initiatives. Earlier this year, the chief editors of Hypothesis met with Jim to discuss the department’s commitment to funding this journal. What was initially expected to be a fairly quick “yes”, “no”, and “how much?” turned into a long discussion of the merits of Hypothesis. Jim was extremely pleased that students were taking an initiative in the publishing and peer-reviewing process, and that this journal was growing at an unexpected rate.

Jim Lepock was an enthusiastic and caring leader whose passion for science and commitment to mentoring are examples for us all.

Thank you Jim, you will be missed.

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