J. Clayton Baum, a Visiting Associate Professor of Chemistry (1989-90), died on June 21, 2020, in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida.
(The following was published by Florida Today on July 28, 2020)
J. Clayton Baum, 74, passed away on June 21st. A native of Falls Church, VA and resident of Indialantic, FL for 41 years, Clayton dedicated his life to teaching, exercising his passion over 37 years in the Florida Tech Department of Chemistry, where he provided award-winning teaching and mentorship to scores of students.
After earning his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Princeton University, serving as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Florida State University, and working as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Bowdoin College Chemistry Department, Clayton arrived at Florida Tech in 1979 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. He was later promoted to Associate Professor and then Full Professor, a position he maintained until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 2016.
During his time at Florida Tech, Clayton published more than 40 peer-reviewed studies and research papers, was recognized repeatedly for his excellence in the classroom with numerous awards, and had a scholarship established in his name by alumni, students and friends in recognition of his teaching and mentoring. He continued to work on research after his retirement, including a National Science Foundation supported project.
Outside of scholarship, Clayton was a loving husband and father who enjoyed camping, hiking, bowling and watching movies with his family and friends. He also took pride and satisfaction in all manner of DIY home projects and working on his model train set.
Clayton is predeceased by his loving wife of 34 years, Melissa, as well as his parents, Robert and Adelaide. He is survived by his son, Matt, his daughter Katie and her life partner Mike, his sister Caroline and her husband John, his first wife and current partner Donna and all of the teaching colleagues and students he inspired.