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Robert A. Plane

Robert A. Plane, former Wells college president, died at the age of 90 on Aug. 6. in 

A former Wells College president died recently.

Robert A. Plane, 90, died Aug. 6 at his home in Albuquerque, according to a Wells press release Saturday. Plane served as the leader of the Aurora college from 1991 to 1995. He had also been a chemistry professor, the president of Clarkson University in Potsdam, provost of Cornell University in Ithaca and author or co-author of several books, according to Plane's obituary posted on Wells' website.

Plane, who was born in Evansville, Indiana, in 1927, graduated magna cum laude in 1948 at Evansville College, now the University of Evansville. He received his doctorate at the University of Chicago.

"Raised during the Great Depression, Plane and his sister, Marylu Plane Sonntag, learned to value education, high achievement, service to others and hard work," the obituary said.

The obituary said Plane's teaching opportunities began when a University of Chicago professor didn't show up at the start of the semester and Plane was chosen as his replacement. Some of Plane's other achievements include a stint with the National Laboratories in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in 1951, becoming a full Cornell University professor in 1962 and creating a widely used chemistry textbook with Michell A. Sienko.

The obituary said Plane learned from his mentors to operate with directness and honesty.

"Plane noted that students, faculty and alumni each believe the institution belongs to them, and conflicts can arise among these constituencies. Instead of pushing a particular solution, a wise administrator, in Plane's view, listens to others and nurtures their ideas," the obituary said.

"On behalf of the entire Wells College community, I share my deepest condolences with the Plane family upon the passing of former president Robert Plane," Current Wells president Jonathan Gibralter said in a news release. "Bob is fondly remembered by many here at the College, which benefited greatly from his wisdom and guidance during his leadership."

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