Professor Field

Professor of 40 Years Leaves Legacy of Respect and Generosity

When Richard Field came to UM in the 1970s to teach chemistry, he brought with him a philosophy of respect for his students. It’s one that stayed with him throughout his 40+ years as a UM professor.

“The students have to feel that you respect them,” he says. “They have to feel that you are working as hard as they are. If you do that, I think you establish a personal relationship with them.” 

Professor FieldField does this every way he can. For instance, he posts test grades within six hours of the exam, regardless of whether the class held 20 students or 200. “That’s the kind of thing that makes students feel you’re putting in hard work, too,” he says.

During his whole career at UM, there has been a culture of giving back to help students. He has been more than happy to join in.

“The department has quite a history of giving,” he says. “Almost all of my faculty members, especially the retirees, have given some money to the department.”

A dedicated donor for years, Field recently decided to leave an estate gift to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

His gift establishes a scholarship award and travel grant for an undergraduate chemistry student, with preference given to seniors going to conferences.

Students, particularly in Montana, need to get out and present work at meetings like that,” he says. To Field, the idea of giving back is second nature.

“Most of us faculty, and the staff, too, have devoted our lives to this institution,” he points out. “It seems reasonable to support something that has been that important to you.”