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.


James N. Cather
Regents' Proceedings 321

James N. Cather, professor of zoology, will retire from active faculty status on May 31, 1995, following 37 years of service.

Professor Cather earned his B.S. (1954) and M.S. (1955) degrees at Southern Methodist University and his Ph.D. degree (1958) at Emory University. He joined the faculty in 1958 as an instructor of zoology and was promoted to assistant professor in 1960, associate professor in 1965, and professor in 1973. In 1975, Professor Cather was appointed chair of the Department of Experimental Biology, a subdivision of the newly created Division of Biological Sciences formed when botany and zoology merged in 1975. He also served as associate chair of the division and as acting chair for one year. In 1983, he was appointed associate dean for facilities in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, a post he held for five years. Later, he was named director of the Office of International Programs, where for four years he traveled widely, visiting students and faculty at sites of the Michigan programs.

An outstanding teacher, Professor Cather participated in large undergraduate courses in embryology and comparative anatomy and, together with the late Professor George W. Nace, inaugurated a new course in experimental embryology. For his excellence in teaching, he received the Class of 1923 Award in 1964. During his career, Professor Cather taught a variety of different undergraduate and graduate courses and seminars and also taught and conducted research at a number of universities and marine laboratories. Ten graduate students working in his laboratory received the Ph.D. degree, and he served on about 100 doctoral committees.

Professor Cather's research focused on the development of molluscs. By the experimental techniques of cell injury, cell deletion, and cell fusion, he altered the normal course of development to study the mechanisms of tissue and organ differentiation. His publications and those of his graduate students attest to his valuable contributions in his field.

The Regents now salute this distinguished faculty member by naming James N. Cather professor emeritus of zoology.