James Franklin "Jim" Wolfe
October 5, 1936 - October 20, 2022
James Franklin Wolfe, better known as Jim, passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 20, 2022. Jim is survived by his loving wife, Nancy, his son John, daughter Carolyn, and five grandchildren: Sawyer, Thomas, Niklas, Hayden, and Carson.
Jim received his B.S. in Chemistry at Lebanon Valley College and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indiana University before arriving in Blacksburg. He served as department chair in the Department of Chemistry for nine years and Vice Provost of the University for more than five years. He was a Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and had acted as Co-Director of the Harvey W. Peters Research Center for the Study of Parkinson’s Disease and Disorders of the Central Nervous System.
Dr. Wolfe authored 65 peer-reviewed publications related to his research and scholarly work in chemistry and published three books. He served as principal investigator on several federally sponsored research projects, including projects funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He served on several committees for the American Chemical Society and was Virginia Tech’s delegate to the National Council for Chemical Research. Jim served on the NSF-NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship Selection Committee and received an NIH fellowship at Indiana University.
Jim oversaw tremendous expansion and growth during his tenure as Founding President of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. Under his leadership, VCOM expanded into South Carolina and Alabama. He continued to serve VCOM as an active Board Member and held President Emeritus status following his retirement in 2015.
Those who knew Jim best will fondly remember his affable nature. Anyone who had the privilege of meeting him would probably tell you that he made them feel like they were the most important person in the room. He made each person feel comfortable and appreciated. He truly never met a stranger and was eager to meet the needs of those around him in the best way he could.
Jim Wolfe led a life dedicated to service, innovation, and leadership throughout every stop on his journey. The Department of Chemistry is grateful for his years of service to our university and to our community.