Grover C. Stephens

The MBL flag has been lowered in memory of Grover C. Stephens who died in Newport Beach, California on Tuesday, June 17 at the age of 78. Dr. Stephens taught the Invertebrate Zoology course at the MBL from 1953 to 1959, and was Director of that course in 1958 and 1959. He was an Independent Investigator at MBL until 1974. Dr. Stephens began his teaching career at Brooklyn College and went on to the University of Minnesota before joining the faculty of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 1964. He helped UCI build a reputation in science as Founding Chairman of the Department of Organismic Biology, now known as Developmental and Cell Biology. Dr. Stephens was Dean of Biological Sciences at UCI in the 1980s. Dr. Stephens was a student of Frank Brown and studied the uptake of dissolved organic molecules from seawater and their role in animal nutrition. He is survived by his widow, Ann Doyle Stephens, two sons, Peter W. Stephens of Stony Brook, NY, and John D. Stephens of Los Angeles, CA, and two grandchildren.

Reprinted with permission from The Orange County Register, June 20, 2003:

The Orange County Register

Grover C. Stephens, a genteel biochemist who helped shape the University of California, Irvine, as a founding professor and made important insights into marine invertebrates, died Tuesday. He was 78.

UCI officials said Stephens, who remained active in campus life long after he retired, died of congestive heart failure at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach. Stephens was one of UCI’s original 118 professors. He joined the faculty in 1964, a year before the campus opened in isolated pastureland.

“I had purchased a house but needed to buy a refrigerator, washing machine and so forth,” Stephens once wrote. “I went to Sears, and they asked for a reference to establish my ability to pay for these things. I told them that I worked for UCI, and they said there was no such place.”

Stephens helped UCI build a reputation in science as founding chairman of the department of organismic biology, now known as developmental and cell biology. He later served four years as dean of the School of Biological Sciences, home to some of UCI’s most distinguished faculty.

Stephens also was a busy researcher, exploring how and what marine invertebrates eat. His studies contributed to a better understanding of how ocean systems work. The research also is important “because you can’t understand how pollution will affect these things if you don’t understand their physiology,” said Al Bennett, a UCI comparative physiologist who was recruited by Stephens. The environment was of great concern to Stephens, who lobbied against commercial development in Upper Newport Bay. Stephens is survived by his wife, Ann Doyle Stephens of Newport Beach, and two sons, Peter W. Stephens of Stony Brook, N.Y., and John D. Stephens of Los Angeles. He also had another son, Joseph H. Stephens, whom he outlived.