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Biology Professor

Professor Emeritus



Fr. Forsthoefel was born in 1915 in St. Sebastian, Ohio. He attended parochial grammar and high schools in Celina, Ohio. In 1933 he graduated from high school as valedictorian then attended St. John’s College in Toledo for one year. In 1934 he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Milford, Ohio and was admitted to the Jesuit order in 1938.
From 1938 to ’41 he studied philosophy at West Baden College in West Baden, Indiana. During this period (1939) he concluded work on his A. B. in Greek at Loyola University in Chicago. He spent his summers from 1939 to ’43 studying biology at the University of Detroit and in 1944 at St. Louis University. From 1944 to ’48 he was back at West Baden College where he received his S. T. L. in theology.   It was during this time (June, 1947) that he was ordained to the priesthood. In 1951 Fr. Forsthoefel earned a Master of Science; in 1953 his doctorate, with both degrees in genetics from Ohio State University.
Fr. Forsthoefel began teaching in the early ‘40s. From 1941 to ’43 he taught mathematics at Loyola Academy in Chicago, and from ’43 to ’44 at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati. In 1953, he became an instructor in genetics at the University of Detroit. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1956, to associate professor in 1959, and to full professor in 1963.
Fr. Forsthoefel was the first recipient of the President’s Award for “Excellence in Teaching and Research,” and in his years with the university he “accrued a reputation as an outstanding teacher, advisor and researcher.” He was also the recipient of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 1971 Academy Citation for “excellence in research.”
Fr. Forsthoefel’s particular area of expertise was developmental and physiological genetics, but he taught courses in all aspects of graduate and undergraduate genetics, as well as general courses in botany and zoology.
In addition to his teaching, Fr. Forsthoefel conducted a great deal of research in genetics, receiving through the years many grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and others. The results of his research were written up and published in literally hundreds of articles in leading genetics, biology, and science journals from the ‘50s to the ‘80s.
In spite of his continuous efforts in research and authorship, Fr. Forsthoefel dedicated three-quarters of his professional time to teaching. He also took on such departmental tasks as serving on the Status and Promotion Committee as well as serving on the Arts and Science College representative to the Committee on Scholarships and Fellowships for the university at large, chairman of the A & S college Rank and Tenure Committee, a member of the Administative Affairs Council of the University Senate, and was Chairman on the committee for green-house and animal house facilities for the Biology Department. In addition, Fr. Forsthoefel graciously served as a trustee of St. Louis University for five years.
            Fr. Forstoefel was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Genetics Society of America, the American Genetics Association, the Ohio Academy of Science, the Michigan Academy of Arts, Science, and Letters, and Albertus Magnus Guild.
Upon the recommendation of Fr. Norman McKendrick, S. J., the university’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. James Kent, Dean on the College of Engineering and Science, Fr. Forsthoefel was named a Professor Emeritus of University of Detroit by university president, Fr. Robert Mitchell, S. J., on January 6, 1982.

University of Detroit

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