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Oliver C. Lester - photo

Oliver C. Lester, 1873-1951

Oliver C. Lester, born in Morris County, Kansas, received his A.M. (1902) and Ph.D. (1904) in Physics from Yale University. He came to the University of Colorado in 1907 to become the University's sole physics professor.


Professor Lester immediately began revitalizing both the Department of Physics and the study of science within the University community. He became Dean of the Graduate School in 1919, a post he held until his retirement. He was appointed Acting President in 1921, while President Norlin was on leave. In 1931, the Board of Regents named Dr. Lester Vice President of the University of Colorado so that he could fill in during President Norlin's absence or illness. In 1942, he retired as Vice President and Dean of the Graduate School, but was called back to teaching several times due to the demands of World War II and post war crowding at the University.


Dr. Lester was a member or fellow of more than a dozen national and international scientific organizations. The southeast wing of Sewall Hall was named the Lester Wing in honor of his wife, Pynk Johnson Lester, who died in 1932. Oliver C. Lester died of a heart attack in 1951.

Albert A. Bartlett
Professor Emeritus, Physics Department