David W. McCall
Bell Laboratories Lucent Technologies
He struggled with leukemia for many years. The cause of death was from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Born in Omaha, Neb., on Dec. 1, 1928, Dr. McCall grew up in Wichita, Kan. He was graduated from Wichita State University with a degree in chemistry and mathematics in 1950. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Illinois, receiving a master's degree in chemistry in 1951 and a doctoral degree in physical chemistry in 1953. His graduate study was supported by a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Dr. McCall joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1953. He has been involved in research in the fields of physical chemistry, dielectric properties, nuclear magnetic resonance and molecular motions in solids and liquids. A large part of his research has concerned polymers. The studies on polymers helped form the basis for understanding the electrical and mechanical properties of plastic materials employed extensively in communications equipment. In 1967, Dr. McCall was given a sabbatical from Bell Labs to become visiting professor of physics at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. He published his lecture notes and called them "Canterbury Tales." Early in the 1970's, it became apparent that inadequate numbers of minority and female scientists were being trained for and assimilated into the research institutions of the United States. He joined with Dr. James W. Mitchell to establish a summer research program to expose minority students to scientific careers. Dr. McCall undertook the management responsibility to oversee the program. In addition, he assumed management responsibility for the Graduate Research Program for Women. He served in these positions for 15 years. The programs had a significant effect on the number of minority and women engineers and scientists with advanced degrees in the United States, as more than a thousand students passed through the programs. In 1973, he became director of the Chemical Research Laboratory. In 1992, Bell Labs was ranked sixth among the "Top Institutions in Chemistry" in the United States by Citation Impact, the only industrial laboratory in the top 15 organizations recognized. President George Herbert Walker Bush appointed Dr. McCall in 1989 to head the National Commission on Superconductivity. Superconductivity is the phenomenon in which materials lose all resistance to electricity. Dr. McCall was a strong supporter of the Gordon Research Conferences, a unique form of scientific exchange through which groups of specialists gather in a remote location to discuss the most advanced aspects of a specified field. In addition to addressing, chairing and evaluating many of these conferences, he served on the board of trustees and became chairman of the board in 1975. He was called upon many times as a national advisor and made presentations to Congress in connection with chemical issues of national interest. He was active in the National Research Council. He was a member of the Board of Chemical Sciences and Technology and the Naval Studies Board. Dr. McCall was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1984. He won the American Chemical Society's Earle B. Barnes Award for Chemical Research Management in 1992. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Matheny School and Hospital in Peapack, an organization dedicated to the care and education of young people handicapped by cerebral palsy and spina bifida. In addition to his home in Far Hills, he had a home in Chatham, Mass. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Charlotte Dunham McCall; two sons, William Christopher of Uxbridge, Mass., and John Dunham McCall of Bridgewater Township; and three grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Basking Ridge at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 15. Those planning an expression of sympathy are encouraged to make a donation in his name to the Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills, 12 Olcott Ave., Bernardsville, N.J. 07924. Arrangements are by the Gallaway and Crane Funeral Home, 101 South Finley Ave., Basking Ridge.