BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — A beloved college professor is being remembered Thursday night. The faculty member of the UC Berkeley’s chemistry department died earlier this week during a hike in Utah.
He was 48 years old. KRON4 spoke with a former student about what he and others remember most about Phillip Geissler.
UC Berkeley graduate Clement Messeri is talking about his first class his freshman year with Professor Phillip Geissler. He took these pictures that day as a freshman at Cal.
He says Chemistry 1A started with a multiple choice quiz, and he and the hundreds of others soon found out this was going to be a unique class with an unique teacher.
“Then he was like, well, I am glad you guys picked all of them because we are going to do all of them,” Messeri said. “He started to sing, and played his guitar, and he was pretty good. The TA’s behind were blowing things up, so it was pretty amazing.”
Geissler died this week while hiking in Utah. The cause of his death is under investigation, but the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department issued a warning about exercising in extreme heat as the Canyons Area is experiencing temperatures jumping past 100 degrees.
“He knew it wasn’t an easy class, especially if you have not taken a lot of chemistry, so I think he was aware of that and he really went the extra mile to make it much more enjoyable and more memorable,” Messeri said.
In 2011, Geissler won the UC Berkeley distinguished teaching award. The College of Chemistry’s dean posted about Geissler’s passing on the school’s website.
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The dean called Geissler a remarkable person, brilliant researcher and scholar, which are the praises now being echoed by his former students.
“For the big game, he had this beaker with red liquid and he made a reaction and it turned to blue and gold, then the and came in and played it was a whole thing,” Messeri said.