Professor Emeritus of Biology, Maurice Gerard Kleve Jr., 71, of Little Rock, passed away Friday, March 3, 2017. Dr. Kleve taught at UA Little Rock from the fall 1980 to January of 2015, making an enduring contribution to the community through his teaching and leadership.
A touching obituary was published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Having taught at UA Little Rock for 35 years, the following short paragraphs can’t truly capture the breadth of Dr. Kleve’s influence on campus and the impact he had on thousands of students over the years.
“He would get so focused and excited about his teaching in biotechnology or microscopy,” John Bush, the biology department chair, recalls, “that students would stay past the lab time of their own volition. The students who had become infected by his fire of curiosity always wanted to do undergraduate research with him. Many did and went onward to professional schools.”
Dr. Kleve was committed to his students and his lab. Many colleagues recall seeing him on campus during nights and weekends building custom tables for sensitive equipment.
As director of Altheimer Microscopy and Biotechnology Laboratory, Dr. Kleve established and maintained the confocal microscopy facility during the 1980s. This facility continues to provide the community with advanced laser scanning technology, allowing them to see deeper into objects than traditional microscopes. By the time he was promoted to a full professor in 2001, Dr. Kleve had collaborated on grants that resulted in some $836,000 in funding being brought to UA Little Rock.
Dr. Kleve was committed to students and served the Department of Biology as coordinator for the undergraduate biotechnology degree emphasis. During the last decade of his tenure, Dr. Kleve was the only full professor to teach the freshman biology course who consistently received very high student evaluations. He did this while publishing two major papers in cancer research in the International Journal of Nanomedicine in 2011 and Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy in 2012.
“Dr. Kleve was actually the professor for the very first lecture I had in college.” recalls Mason Qualls, who graduated from UA Little Rock in 2014 and is now an M.D. Candidate at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “I remember he taught introductory biology in the large first floor auditorium in Fribourgh Hall, to what must have been well over one hundred students. Dr. Kleve, of course taught the basics of his field, and shared with us new developments in biology and biotechnology, but a lesson that stayed with me in particular was his urging that we all find ways to use science in our everyday lives.”
Qualls continues, “As he explained, whether your prospective career is within a scientific field or not, it is important that we understand biology adequately enough to make informed decisions about legislation involving biological sciences – the environment, reproduction, medicine, vaccination, agriculture, and the ethics of emerging biotechnology. In my mind, Dr. Kleve was the perfect advocate for a field of study so central to our lives. I hope we can all keep him in our memories by keeping his ambitions for us alive.”
Our hearts and thoughts are with Dr. Kleve’s family as they go through this challenging time. When he retired from UA Little Rock, he left with these encouraging words:
Advancing human knowledge is inherent in the mandate of any university, and I am proud to have been part of that lasting goal.Professor Emeritus of Biology, Maurice Gerard Kleve Jr.
Dr. Kleve’s online guestbook may be signed at www.littlerockfuneralhome.com.