Lawrence C. Biedenharn, Jr. Endowment for Excellence

Aug 31, 2014 | EPS/EPF

The Lawrence C. Biedenharn, Jr. Endowment for Excellence was endowed by Mrs. Sarah W. Biedenharn of Austin, Texas in memory of her husband Lawrence C. Biedenharn, Jr., Ph.D. of Austin, Texas. Sarah, a lawyer, and Larry, a theoretical physicist and professor at UT, were married for 42 before Larry succumbed to kidney cancer in 1996. Sarah is herself a cancer survivor and actively supports many philanthropic organizations in Austin.

Lawrence C. Biedenharn, Jr., Ph.D.

Larry and Sarah Biedenharn in 1976.

Lawrence and Sarah met in 1949. She was a junior at Wellesley College and he was completing his Ph.D. thesis at MIT. They married in the spring of 1950. Sarah graduated that year, attended the law school at the University of Tennessee before transferring to Yale law school when Lawrence was appointed as faculty there. After she received her LLD from Yale in 1954, they raised two children, John and Sally. Sarah was an invaluable asset to her husband, often accompanying him on his many professional travels and by being a generous host to his graduate students and visitors. Larry told the story that while at MIT he made at that time a desperate – but it turns out successful – effort to lose his strong southern drawl. Nobody in the institutions where he subsequently occupied a position could believe that he hailed from the Deep South.

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