Former GEMS professor ‘set a high standard’

By Lauren Lavelle

Mervin Kontrovitz, a former Geological, Environmental and Marine Sciences (GEMS) faculty member known for his influence in shaping the department, died on Sept. 4, 2015, after a short illness. He was 80 years old.

Kontrovitz received a Bachelor of Science in geology and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toledo, as well as a Master of Science in geology from Tulane University. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1958 to 1966.

A respected paleontologist, Kontrovitz was a member of several prestigious organizations. He was elected senior fellow of the Geological Society of America and was a member of the American Association of University Administrators; American Association for the Advancement of Science, Paleontological Society (emeritus); British Micropaleontology Society; International Research Group on Ostracoda; North American Micropaleontology Section SEPM; American Petroleum Institute; the Louisiana Academy of Sciences; and the New Jersey Academy of Sciences. He was also a member of the honor societies Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Gamma Epsilon and Gamma Theta Epsilon.

Jonathan Husch, chair of GEMS, said Kontrovitz was integral in his career at Rider.

“He was the one who brought me to the university,” he said. “He set a very high standard for me to follow, both as new faculty member, and later as chair of the department.”

Following his career at Rider which ended in 1980, Kontrovitz served as head of the Geoscience Department and Dean of Pure and Applied Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

He is survived by his wife, Eileen Romeo Kontrovitz, and their two children.

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