Schaefer, John

John Schaefer's career took him from being a young Chemistry professor at the University of Arizona to a department head, then Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and, at the age of 36, University President from 1971 to 1982. After leaving the UA, John became the CEO of Research Corporation, where he served until 2004. Along the way, Schaefer has served on numerous boards, including that of Tucson Electric Power, been instrumental in the creation of the Large Binocular Telescope and the Large Synaptic Survey Telescope, and supported Tucson’s art community with his philanthropy. Schaefer is also a longtime photographer and his friendship with Ansel Adams lead to the creation of the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. This is just a slice of what you will hear in the following oral history.

Part one of six was recorded on May 2nd, 2017 in John Schaefer’s office at the University of Arizona. Highlights include:

- Growing up in New York City
- College and graduate school, interest in chemistry
- Early interest in photography during grad school develops into lifelong hobby and collaboration with Bernard Fontana
- Interest in birdwatching and outdoors during grad school, role in organizing Tucson Audubon Society
- Early faculty career: Caltech, Berkeley, University of Arizona
- First impressions of Tucson in 1960s, social life for young faculty
- State of chemistry at UA in 1960
- Young/old faculty tensions within Chemistry Department

Part two of six was recorded on May 5th, 2017 in John Schaefer’s office at the University of Arizona. Highlights include:

- Schaefer's work as Department Head of Chemistry.
- Move from Chemistry Department to Dean of College of Liberal Arts
- Tension between young and old faculty
- Composition of colleges at UA during 1960s
- Retirement of President Harvill and replacement search
- Working relationship between Harvill and Schaefer
- Schaefer's first actions as UA President: new hours, new grant structures, Chemistry Building location, aggressive faculty recruitment

Part three of six was recorded on May 9th, 2017 in John Schaefer’s office at the University of Arizona. Highlights include:

- The University of Arizona in the cultural context of the 1960s and 1970s
- Free speech on campus
- Civil Rights and BYU basketball protest
- Examination of sabbatical leave program
- Personal interest in all faculty hires
- Increasing reputation of UA in national context
- Relationship between UA and State of Arizona

This is part four of six, recorded on June 14th, 2017 in John Schaefer’s office at the University of Arizona. This interview includes:

- Formation of PAC-10
- How the UA's growth during the 1970s complemented/contrasted with Tucson's growth as a city
- Creation of the Center for Creative Photography

Part five of six was recorded on June 20th, 2017 in John Schaefer’s office at the University of Arizona. A few highlights from this session:

- Construction of the UA Main Library in the early/mid-1970s
- Challenges of funding construction
- A major change at the UA from early 1970s to early 1980s: computers. Story of switching payroll to computers
- Schaefer's departure from UA Presidency
- History of Research Corporation for Science Advancement
- Work at RCSA from 1982-2004
- RCSA and the Large Binocular Telescope

Part six of six was recorded on July 10th, 2017 in John Schaefer’s office at the University of Arizona. A few highlights:

- The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and Research Corporation
- Work on corporate and nonprofit boards, including Tucson Electric Power
- Philanthropic work
- Observations about how Tucson has changed from 1960-2017