Queen's Remembers Dr. Victor Snieckus
It is with a profound sense of sadness and deep regret that the Chemistry Department and Queen’s University in Kingston inform you of the passing of Victor Algirdas Snieckus on December 18, 2020. As one of the most internationally respected synthetic organic chemists in the world, Victor most recently held the position of Emeritus Bader Chair of Chemistry at Queen’s University. Victor was born in1937 in Kaunas, Lithuania, and spent his childhood in Germany during World War II before immigrating to Alberta Canada with his parents in 1948. He obtained a B.Sc. in chemistry at the University of Alberta in1959 followed by an M.Sc. from the University of California, Berkeley (1961) and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon (1965). Following a post-doctoral position at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa (1965-1966), Victor joined the University of Waterloo as an assistant professor in 1967. rising through the ranks to become Professor of Chemistry (1979-1992) and then the Monsanto/NRC Industrial, Research Chair (1992-1998). In 1998 Victor joined Queens University as the inaugural holder of the prestigious Bader Chair of Chemistry. Victor Snieckus became a house-hold name among chemists world-wide due to his fundamental contributions to organo-lithium chemistry and the DOM (directed ortho-metalation) reactions that he and his group pioneered. Research conducted in his laboratories and his consulting with various pharmaceutical industries led to the commercially important anti-inflammatory drug CelebrexTM and to SilthiofamTM, a unique fungicide for eradication of the TAKE-ALL fungus which is in use worldwide. That work, and other contributions, led to nearly 300 highly cited publications, 58 international and national fellowships and awards, 249 special and plenary lectureships, and 446 invited presentations around the world. Victor’s lasting enthusiasm for discovery and chemistry is best observed in the hundreds of undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral researchers who have been mentored in his labs, many of whom have gone on to significant careers of their own in academia and industry. Victor was predeceased by his wife, Anne Cecilia, and leaves behind daughter Naomi, son Darius, and two grandchildren. Victor will be missed by family, friends, students and colleagues, but his legacy will live on.