The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.


Daniel L. Rich
LSA Minutes

Memorial to
Daniel Leslie Rich

Professor Emeritus Daniel Leslie Rich died suddenly on the morning of February 15, 1951 in the University Hospital. He had been a member of this faculty for forty-two years.

Rich was born in Pennsylvania, near the town of Carmichaels, on June 26, 1879. His preparatory and college training he received at Waynesburg College, from which he graduated in 1902. After two years of high school teaching at Edgewood Park, Pennsylvania and three years as principal of the high school at Braddock, Pennsylvania, he entered the University of Michigan as a graduate student. He was appointed Instructor in Physics in 1908. The following year he was granted a Master's Degree and in 1914 a Doctor's Degree. He became an Assistant Professor in 1917 and an Associate Professor in 1924.

Throughout his long career Professor Rich found his greatest satisfaction in the teaching of basic physics, and a host of students cherish his memory. His keen wit and unfailing enthusiasm, his unusual talent for devising pertinent demonstration experiments made his classes very popular. He was interested not only in teaching, but in teachers; thus he visited many high schools throughout the state, and for a number of years presented a course for training teachers of physics. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Schoolmasters' Club, and a recognized leader in the Association of College Teachers of Physics.

From 1925 to 1936 he was Secretary of this Faculty and Director of Classification; for eight of these years he was also Associate Registrar. Those of you who can recall registration week in the early 1920's will remember lines of students stretching almost the whole length of the diagonal walk, impatiently waiting for their turns at the Treasurer's window. It was Professor Rich who devised the new and more efficient procedure which is now in operation, and the later generations of students have no idea how much they owe him on this account.

Of all branches of physics it was acoustics which interested him the most in his early career. At that time, and with the limited facilities of the old Physics Building he conducted investigations on high frequency sound waves, a field which has now become very fruitful. When the Randall Laboratory was planned Professor Rich arranged for the inclusion of a unique sound laboratory, completely isolated from the main building, and provided with rooms for the study of sound absorption and of reverberation. One of the practical applications to which this equipment has been put has been the reduction of noise produced by modern appliances, a real contribution to present day living. His interest in sound led him to survey the acoustic properties of Hill Auditorium. Due to his recommendation, sound-absorbing layers were installed in certain critical wall areas which did much to improve Hill Auditorium as a concert hall.

In the fall of 1948 Professor Rich began his retirement leave, but this by no means signified the end of his teaching. Continuously from then until the close of the semester just passed he carried on extension courses in Detroit, lecturing to large classes in general physics, modern physics, and on science in the home, thus rounding out to its very end a long and fruitful life. In his passing we have lost a warm friend, a much loved colleague, and a very unusual teacher.

A. L. Ferguson
Otto Laporte
E. F. Barker, Chairman