Professor Russell Stephen Drago (1928-1997)
Drago Group webpage on LinkedIn

1928: Born in Montague, Massachusetts (actually, the Village of Turners Falls, MA)
(His given name was Stephen Russell Drago)
1951: BS degree from University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Served in United States Air Force before obtaining his PhD degree
1954: PhD degree from Ohio State University (under Professor Harry Sisler)
1955: Joined Chemistry at the University of Illinois
1965: Physical Methods in Inorganic Chemistry published
1969: Won the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry
1974: Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship
1977: Physical Methods in Chemistry published
1982: Joined Chemistry at the University of Florida
1992: Physical Methods for Chemists, 2nd Ed. published
1997: Passed away in Flagler Beach, Florida

Professor Drago authored or coauthored more than 400 scientific research papers, 17 patents, and over a dozen books.
Professor Drago mentored more than 130 PhD students.

The logo for the Florida Catalysis Conference.

The logo for the Florida Environmental Conference.

The following posting is adapted from the posting that the group made just days after Russ passed away.

On December 5, 1997, the University of Florida, and indeed the academic world, suffered the loss of one of their most distinguished chemical scientists and teachers when Graduate Research Professor of Chemistry Russell S. Drago suffered a fatal heart attack. He was leading a national conference of industrial and academic chemists on environmental chemistry in Palm Coast, Florida. An internationally known expert in the study of catalysis of chemical processes and in the understanding of acid-base phenomena, Dr. Drago produced work which is not only of major interest to academic chemists throughout the world, but his work was of wide spread interest in industry and received major support from industrial corporations and the U.S. government. Aside from the extraordinary scientific impact of his research, Dr. Drago was widely recognized for his unusual success in combining superb scientific research with the training of graduate students to become productive chemists in their own right. He also had unusual perception in seeing the relevance of laboratory research to practical problems of today.

After receiving his B.Sc. degree from the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Drago completed his work for the Ph.D. degree in chemistry at the Ohio State University. He then joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois in 1955. He was appointed to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Florida in 1982 and was shortly thereafter promoted to the rank of Graduate Research Professor of Chemistry, a position that he held up to the time of his passing. During his tenure at Illinois and Florida, he directed the doctoral dissertations of more than one hundred thirty chemists who now hold positions throughout the world in academics and industry. At the time of his death, he was directing the doctoral research of more than a dozen graduate students. It was very characteristic of the man to place little limit on his availability to his students. The scientific and academic standards characteristic of his research group were very high, but he established these standards by his own example. He did not ask of his students any greater effort than he demonstrated in his own work.

Dr. Drago was deeply devoted to and supportive of his family. On his extensive scientific and scholarly travels he was always accompanied by Ruth, his devoted spouse. He attributed a major portion of his professional and scientific success to her support. He was much loved by his family and absolutely adored by his grandchildren. Similarly, the relationship of Dr. Drago with his research students was often characterized as that of an extended family. In fact, his home in many ways functioned as a kind of home away from home for his graduate students.

In his relationships with his colleagues and students he consistently exemplified the common touch. He was firm in support of his usually well considered opinions, but he also had an open mind to opposing points of view, particularly those expressed by his students. He did not consider his students simply as pair of hands to carry out his instructions. Rather, his relationship with his students was that of a senior colleague with junior colleagues, with major emphasis on its collegial aspects.

After chemical research and his family, Dr. Drago's top interest was in sports--notably tennis and basketball. He commonly played tennis with students and colleagues. He had an abiding love for the beach and did much of his writing at the Drago's beach house on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

This man will be long-remembered and will be difficult indeed to replace.

The University of Florida Foundation has established an endowed professorship, the Drago Professorship in Inorganic Chemistry. Professor George Christou is the current recipient.

book cover
The cover for Physical Methods in Inorganic Chemistry.

book cover
The cover for Physical Methods in Chemistry.

book cover
The cover for Physical Methods in Chemistry, Russian translation.

book cover
The cover for Physical Methods for Chemists.

drago genealogy

drago students

L to R: Russ Drago, Alan Katritzky, Jim Winefordner

Russ Drago and Mike Zerner
Russ Drago (1928 - 1997) and Mike Zerner (1940 - 2000)

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