Born in Cincinnati on March 16, 1930, son of Carl and Elizabeth Hodge Markgraf, he felt he was destined to live the life of a chemist from an early age.
"When I was a teenager," he
once said, "I lived down the street from a chemist.He
used to take me to his
lab on weekends, and I fell in love with the smells and the equipment then."Markgraf graduated from Williams in 1952 summa cum laude and served as secretary of his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.After earning a PhD in chemistry at Yale University in 1957, which included study as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Munich, he worked as a research chemist at Procter and Gamble before joining the chemistry department at Williams in 1959.
AdvertisementAs a young professor, Williams president John Sawyer appointed Markgraf to the sensitive position of secretary to the trustee, faculty, alumni and student committee that ultimately recommended that Williams phase out its fraternity system, making it the first college in the country to do so.
...Raymond Chang, a colleague of Markgraf's for 35 years, described him as a charismatic teacher who enjoyed interacting with people.
also had a way with words, so much so that one of his
former students devoted a Web page to his
quotes.Greg Crowther, a visiting lecturer at the University of Washington and a Williams grad, writes that Markgraf was "a scientist who talked like a down-to-earth poet.
On how gas chromatography works, Markgraf
said: "It's like a pig going through a python."