Dr. Dev Chopra
The Physics Department and Texas A&M University-Commerce is proud to formally establish the Dr. Dev and Omi Chopra Scholarship Fund.
Dev and Omi Chopra came to East Texas State University in 1964. Dev was a young Associate Professor in Physics with a new Ph.D. from New Mexico State University. His immediate objective was to design a research program characterizing properties of rare-earth materials using X-ray absorption spectroscopy techniques. As scarce seed funds became available, he acquired different pieces of research equipment according to a careful plan. In a few years he had developed a productive research program where he sought and received grants, gave scholarly presentations, published papers, and produced knowledgeable graduates. As his professional reputation grew, he developed new techniques and concentrated his efforts on the surface electronic properties of these exotic and important materials. He became a recognized leader in the use of Appearance-Potential Spectroscopy, a newly developed experimental technique utilizing soft X-rays to uncover electronic properties of solid surfaces. Over the years he expanded the "Surface Science Laboratory" and developed a battery of investigative tools which he and his students used to great advantage. After 33 years of dedicated service, Dev had published over 70 papers, articles, and book chapters, had a very large number of scholarly presentations, and had mentored over 50 Master's and Honors students in their research. He was selected as Honors Professor by students and twice as Distinguished Faculty by his peers in the faculty senate. He is, without question, the most productive scientist in the history of East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University-Commerce. The list of honors, grants, consulting activities, and other professional activities are far too lengthy to list in this short letter.
While much of the university community thinks of Dev in the terms outlined above, a productive scientist, physics students over the years remember him in a different light. As one of the department heads who served with Dev, I have been privileged to view student evaluations from many of his classes. The comments are uniformly enthusiastic from students "trapped" in a required science course needed for graduation to graduate students taking the most advanced courses offered at the University. Dev’s ability to relate the subject matter in an interesting yet rigorous manner was, and is, very unusual. Dev was a popular instructor, and we always knew that his name on the class schedule insured adequate enrollment.
University faculty are evaluated in the three areas of teaching, service, and scholarly activity. Dev was an obvious superstar in the teaching and research categories, but he also quietly served the university and physics communities in many ways. He was an officer, chairman, or leader in many professional organizations and university committees, far too numerous to list here. As a testimony to his total dedication and service to the university, Dev was made a "Regents Professor" of East Texas State University, one of only two faculty to ever receive that distinction. In his address at the Regents award ceremony Dev emphasized his conviction that teaching and research are two sides of the same coin and in his life philosophy, he remarked "Personally, I consider teaching as my soul and research as my mind." In his career, he practiced what he believed.
Dev and Omi currently life in Tampa, Florida close to their son Anil, an ETSU alumnus, who is a professional medical physicist. While they lived in Commerce, Omi was active in Meals-on-Wheels, University Dames Association, Psychology Club and belonged to at least one bridge club. In Tampa, they both keep busy with three grandchildren and other activities. Omi volunteers at the University Community Hospital and Dev is an adjunct Professor of Physics at the University of South Florida.
On April 25, 1997 the University and physics department had a formal retirement celebration where only a limited number of relatives and associates were invited. Others were invited to send letters, pictures, and stories about their memories of Dr. Chopra for a scrapbook. The response was outstanding and Dev and Omi were very touched. Many of their friends, students, and associates suggested that we should create a permanent scholarship fund to honor Dev and Omi. In this way Dev could continue to serve the university, the physics department, future physics students, and allow past associates to show appreciation for Dev and Omi’s service.
The time is long overdue but we are finally taking that advice. Please pause, remember your association with Dev and Omi and send a gift for the "Dr. Dev and Omi Chopra Scholarship Fund" to the Texas A&M University-Commerce Foundation, Commerce, TX 75429.
PS: We have a matching donor for contributions that are made in the year 2002. Let this encourage you to make your contribution early.
Link to alumni letters in support of the scholarship
Emeritus Recognition Ceremony
Dr. Dev Chopra has been named Professor Emeritus of Physics at Texas A&M University-Commerce. President Jones presented him with a framed certificate at a reception/ceremony on Wednesday, October 29, 2008.