Remembering Robert Fineman, CST '66
A graduate of the College of Science and Technology and proud alumnus of Temple University, Robert Fineman, CST '66, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Monday, July 13.
Dr. Fineman was an enthusiastic supporter of and advocate for the College of Science and Technology. He served on the college’s Board of Visitors, spoke at graduation in 2017 and met with students to discuss careers in science and healthcare.
In 1995, he established the Edward and Frances Fineman Scholarship, in memory of his parents, to provide scholarships for undergraduate chemistry students who have demonstrated academic achievement and financial need.
Dr. Fineman graduated from Germantown High School in Philadelphia, then earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Temple. He earned both an MD and PhD from SUNY Downstate in 1972.
Board certified in medical examination, pediatrics and medical genetics, Dr. Fineman had a long and distinguished career as a physician, researcher and educator. From 1977 to 1990, he was with the University of Utah School of Medicine, serving as assistant professor of pediatrics and director, Division of Medical Genetics; associate professor of pediatrics; research associate professor, Department of Anatomy; and professor of pediatrics.
In 1991, he became director, Maternal/Infant Health and Genetics, Parent-Child Health Services at the Washington State Department of Health, and a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine. From 2007 until his retirement he served as dean, Health and Human Services, North Seattle Community College.
Dr. Fineman’s dedication to science and service was inspired by Hazel L. Tomlinson, CST ’26, ’28, who inspired generations of Temple chemistry students as a faculty member from 1928 to 1974. Fineman helped lead the effort to honor his mentor through the Hazel M. Tomlinson Lecture Hall located in the Science Education and Research Center, dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late 2018.
Dr. Fineman is survived by his wife, Bonnie; his children Elyse Fineman (Adam Zoll), Daniel Fineman (Jennifer Stebner), and Amy (Michael) Eisenstein; and grandchildren Rachel, Ilana, Peretz, Jayden, Emunah and Meir. Read their remembrance.
To read Dr. Fineman’s address to the Class of 2017, click here. Below are his remarks at the dedication of the Tomlinson Lecture Hall in 2018.
First, I want to thank not only everyone who made this dedication possible, but also all the people who worked so hard to plan for and build this magnificent building. Obviously, if there is no building, there would be no way to dedicate a lecture hall to Dr. Tomlinson.
Next, I would like all of you to close your eyes, click your heels together three times, and say, “There is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home.” In my opinion, Temple University is not only a home for us, but it also a part of our family.
Getting back to the joyous matter at hand, i.e., the dedication of this lecture hall to Dr. Tomlinson. When I walked yesterday morning under the main gate of the campus and on to Polett Walk, I saw a large cherry and white-colored banner with the words, “Temple University Welcomes You and Your Family.”
That banner epitomizes Dr. Tomlinson’s mantra without a doubt. Dr. Tomlinson deeply cared about her students AND the well-being of their families. She was challenging and nurturing in equal proportion, and absolutely honest with us. What I like about her the most is: 1) she didn’t suggest her students strive for excellence, she demanded it, and 2) she treated students like we were members of her own family.
After Dr. Tomlinson passed away in the early 1990s, her estate was used to create the Dr. Hazel Tomlinson Student Scholarship Fund in CST. Like I said, she cared deeply about her students and their families. What more can a teacher, mentor and friend of the university do for us? Today, we are returning the favor by honoring her; although I am sure she would say she was just doing her job/duty and there is no need to honor her.
At this time, I raise this bottle of scotch (if it were permitted, I would drink it here), and say, “L’chaim,” to life, Dr. Tomlinson, and may we, your students and our families, never forget you and what you stood for.