George Giragos Odian, distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the College of Staten Island, passed away peacefully on December 22, 2019 at the age of 86 at his home in New York City.
A lifelong New Yorker, George was born to Kazar and Bagzada (Manoogian) Odian, Armenian immigrants and survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Excelling academically, he majored in chemistry and graduated from the City College of New York with a Bachelor of Science and Columbia University with a PhD. After serving as Research Director for Radiation Applications, Inc., he moved to academia where he taught and led research programs first at Columbia University and then for over 50 years at the College of Staten Island.
Dr. Odian was world-renowned in his field of Polymer Science (the science of large molecules most often utilized in creating plastics). He authored over 75 research papers and four texts including the preeminent text in the field of Polymer Science – a text translated into 14 languages, utilized worldwide and was even pirated in nations that ignore intellectual property rights. Scores of students received their doctorate degrees under his mentoring and today are found in universities and research laboratories throughout the world. In 2014 the American Chemical Society honored Dr. Odian as the recipient of the Paul Flory Polymer Education Award. This highly prestigious honor is bestowed only once every two years to a single individual in recognition of outstanding achievements in promoting polymer education. As one of his colleagues noted, “Dr. Odian not only created our polymer program but placed our university on the global map.”
George Odian’s joys went far beyond the classroom. He treasured time with family and friends. He was an avid photographer, an ardent follower of jazz music and cooked with creativity. He was a true student of baseball as well as an enthusiastic supporter of his home team, the New York Yankees.
Dr. Odian is survived by his son, Dr. Michael Odian (Maureen), granddaughters Mary and Michaela, his brother Mesrob, sister-in-law and friend Sondra, nephew Mark, niece Cristen and their children Ani, Alivia and Alaina.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Armenian EyeCare Project, San Dimas, CA or to the Tammy Dermksian Fund at St. Illuminator’s Armenian Apostolic Cathedral, New York City.