James Lee Gooch (1938 –) Biology Professor
1968 to 2000, a native of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1956, took his B.S. and M.S. from West Virginia University (1960, 1962), majoring in geology, where he was also Phi Beta Kappa. Gooch received his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Delaware and later studied at Ohio State, Duke University, the University of Chicago, the University of Virginia, Penn State University, and Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory in Massachusetts.
At Juniata Gooch taught genetics, population biology, biostatistics, and invertebrate zoology, and participated¾and “bombed out”¾in several general education courses. He received the Beachley Distinguished professor award in 1982, for outstanding service to students through advising, counseling, or development of student-related activities.
His favorite experience was the student field trips to the Duke Marine Laboratory (DUML) that he and Dr. Robert Fisher led for over twenty years. Hundreds of former Juniata students share fond memories of the glorious first-evening dinners at Tony’s Sanitary Fish Market, the ocean breeze aboard the trawler Beveridge, and the squelching mud of Bird Shoals.
Gooch contributed as the Principal Investigator in a $130,000 (not adjusted for inflation) grant from National Science Foundation, supporting faculty-student research on campus and at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, MA, the Duke Marine Laboratory, and the Bermuda Marine Biology Station. A number of his publications on the genetic structure of marine and freshwater invertebrate populations were co-authored by Juniata students. Gooch directed the Cooperative Program with the DUML that sent Juniata students to the marine lab for a semester’s study followed often by a summer of research with resident Duke faculty.
He reviewed manuscripts for the journals, Evolution, Marine Biology and Biological Bulletin. He presented papers and was the author and principal investigator of some twenty-four researched journal articles.
Gooch coordinated student research programs at The Marine Biology Laboratory, Duke University, mentored a number of successful future Masters and Doctoral students in biology and health professions, and was an accredited visiting consultant and evaluator of biology departments in Muskingum, Mt. Union and Western Maryland. His honorary and professional affiliations included Phi Beta Kappa, American Institution of Biological Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Genetics Society of America, and Pennsylvania Academy of Science.
James and Emmy Lou, nee Denny, were married in 1965. They have a son, Douglas and daughter-in-law, Lisa living in Florida, and two grandchildren, Ryan and Ethan. Jim and Emmy were residents of old Mission House on Eighteenth Street before it became a student residence.
Aside from teaching and researching, Gooch’s main interest was in biology curriculum, and he served on several committees of national organizations that discussed and reviewed various models of curricular change and reform within the biological sciences, changes and reforms that were rarely implemented, owing to the intractable conservatism of the long tenured. For several years he visited and evaluated the biology departments of other colleges under the auspices of the Council of Independent Colleges.
After retirement Gooch sat in on undergraduate classes, served as an instructional design consultant and assistant for Juniata’s Science in Motion Program in regional public schools, and experimented with the design production and presentation of computer instruction modules for secondary school biology programs. He created a website for middle school teachers of the biological and earth science that provides procedures graphics and worksheets for experiments that can be done at little cost. He also enjoyed several hobbies: gluing colorful glass tessarae into mosaic arrangements and tapping out Morse code over the international airwaves using the FCC licensed call letters NA3V.
Jim and Emmy have traveled widely, participated in numerous Elder Hostel educational programs, and often visited family in Florida. Among his Huntingdon neighbors and the Juniata Senior Institute Gooch is distinguished by a touch of hardscrabble West Virginia demeanor, leavened with a cosmopolitan curiosity, good nature and wry humor.
James Gooch. Interviews with author, 2013.