Robert J. Toft, a former biology department faculty member, died January 28, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
(The following appeared in Grand Rapids Press, January 30 – February 1, 2015.)
3/2/1933 – 1/28/2015 Robert Jens Toft, PhD., died with his family around him on January 28, 2015. Dr. Toft was born in Clinton, WI, in 1933, the son of George P. and Ruth Wood Toft. He graduated from Beloit High School, Beloit WI, and from Beloit College with a B.A. in Biology, cum laude, in 1955. Dr. Toft received an M.A. in Physiology from Rice Institute, Houston TX, in 1957, and a PhD. in Physiology/Endocrinology from Rice University in 1960. In 1956 Dr. Toft married Suzanne Wadsworth of Appleton WI, and is survived by his former wife and three sons, Thomas A. (Bonnie), Grand Rapids, Erik K. (Elena), Falls Church VA, William J. (Michele), Fairfax CA, and two grandsons. Dr. Toft was a member of the American Association of University Professors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He had a distinguished career as an educator, teaching at Rice University; Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME; and Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, IA. By invitation from the National Science Foundation he served as Associate Program Director, College Teacher Programs, 1968-69. He returned to NSF as Program Director, Undergraduate Science Course Improvement Program, 1970-72. His research activities included working in the Bio/Med Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne IL, 1963-64, and he was the author of 12 published research papers in Physiology and Endocrinology. Dr. Toft founded, edited and published The Grant Advisor, 1983-94, a newsletter to assist educators in applying for grant money. In 1972 Dr. Toft came to Grand Valley State University as founder and first Dean of College IV. He moved to the Development Office in1978, setting up a grants office in Washington DC, where he was Director of Federal Relations and Program Development for GVSU. He retired in 1998. Dr. Toft also did consulting for a number of colleges and universities and was the author of 9 published papers on higher education. After his retirement, Dr. Toft founded and coordinated the Gay Married Mens Association (GAMMA) in Grand Rapids.