Dr. Neocles Leontis, professor in the Department of Chemistry, passed away unexpectedly in a car accident on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Serving as a faculty member since 1987, Leontis was held in high regard as a researcher and educator. He received a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University and completed his graduate work at Harvard University and his doctorate at Yale University in 1986. His research interests focused on DNA and RNA 3D structures, using an integrated biophysical, biochemical and bioinformatic approach. He authored several books and many articles, and he was issued six patents. He served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation from 2009 to 2012. In addition, Leontis helped secure more than $7 million in grant-funded activities. He also developed the consortial bioinformatics program with the University of Toledo. He received many awards, including Bowling Green State University’s Paul J. Olscamp Research Award in 2006 and Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Beyond his role on the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, Leontis was a leader at the University and in the City of Bowling Green. He served as a former chair of Faculty Senate in 2003, and he was elected to an at-large seat on the Bowling Green City Council in 2019. As a public servant, he championed sustainability initiatives from composting food waste to installing more bike lanes to preserving Bowling Green as a true college town.
During his time at BGSU, Leontis mentored countless undergraduate and graduate students, including two who received the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and was known for his innovative teaching and learning. His colleagues and students remember him for his commitment to advancing the field of chemistry, but also as a kind individual who cared deeply about the success of students and enhancing the vibrancy of Bowling Green.
The University mourns his tragic loss and shares in his family and friends’ sorrow. Condolences to his family can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the University will deliver them. Please also keep his wife, Vassiliki Leontis, who is an alumna of BGSU, in your thoughts as we wish her a full recovery from the accident.
As students and faculty complete their final exams this week virtually, counselors are still available to help the community cope with this loss. Students may contact the BGSU Counseling Center to be connected directly with a counselor. Faculty and staff may receive support through the University’s Employee Assistance Program.