In May, UNH lost two venerated researchers and members of the teaching faculty — one who helped change America’s views on corporal punishment and family violence; another who supported the proliferation of the official state flower.
Former professor of sociology Murray Straus died on May 13 at the age of 89. Founder of the field of family violence research and longtime director of UNH’s Family Research Laboratory, Straus was the first to document the negative effects of spanking on children, publishing research that showed spanking was associated with increased subsequent aggression among children and reduced warmth between children and their parents. He provided much of the scientific evidence to back efforts to ban corporal punishment, a ban that was subsequently adopted by some 50 countries. In the early 1970s, Straus also pioneered surveys that established that people were far more likely to be assaulted and injured by members of their own family than they were by strangers, fundamentally changing popular and academic conceptions about crime and crime prevention.
On May 24, emeritus professor of plant biology Owen Rogers died at the age of 85. Rogers devoted his career to breeding lilacs, the New Hampshire state flower, and was instrumental in developing UNH’s 60-year-long lilac breeding program, the longest continuous lilac breeding program in the United States. Known nationally for his lilac expertise, Rogers cross-bred thousands of varieties of lilacs and introduced three new cultivars, the white Agnes Smith lilac, the purple Jesse Helper lilac and the light violet Marie Rogers lilac — which he named after his wife.
Originally published in UNH Magazine Fall 2016 Issue