WMU News

Haym Kruglak

June 25, 2003

Haym Kruglak, professor emeritus of physics at Western Michigan University, died June 14 in Kalamazoo. He was 94.

Kruglak joined the WMU faculty in 1954 as an associate professor, teaching physics and astronomy, and retired with 23 years of service and the title professor emeritus of physics in1977. He was a National Science Foundation faculty fellow in 1963-64 and received a distinguished service citation from the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1977.

In 1987, the sundial on the pedestrian mall between Kanley Chapel and Wood Hall was named for Haym Kruglak by action of the WMU Board of Trustees. Kruglak initiated and coordinated the creation of the sundial. He and David Martin, a former physical plant mechanical engineer, designed the timepiece, which measures 20-feet in diameter and has a 12-foot stainless steel gnomon, or arm.

Kruglak also designed an unusual sundial that uses people to cast the shadow to tell the time. That sundial is in front of the Kalamazoo Valley Museum in downtown Kalamazoo.

In the 10 years prior to joining the WMU faculty, Kruglak served as an assistant professor of physics at Princeton University, where he received a commendation for teaching excellence, and at the University of Minnesota, where he earned his doctorate, in 1951. He earned his bachelor's degree cum laude in 1934 and master's degree in 1936, both from the University of Wisconsin.

Kruglak authored three books and more than 100 journal articles, research reports and laboratory manuals. Following his retirement from WMU, Kruglak was a visiting scientist at the University of Arizona, where he and his wife of 60 years, Mary Lee, spent the winter months. They also retained a Kalamazoo residence.

The Kruglaks' son, David, died in 1993, and they established a WMU Medallion Scholarship in his memory. Mary Lee Kruglak died in 2001.

Born March 24, 1909, in the Ukraine, Kruglak immigrated with his parents to the United States.

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