Traffic Accident takes life of Texas State physics chair

Date of release: 11/16/05

SAN MARCOS—James R. Crawford, longtime chair and professor of physics at Texas State University-San Marcos, was killed Sunday, Nov. 13, after he was thrown from his motorcycle following a collision.

Crawford, 63, of New Braunfels, died after the collision that occurred at the intersection of Common Street and Loop 337 in New Braunfels. The accident happened at about 3 p.m.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

“Jim was an exceptional individual,” said Hector Flores, dean of Texas State’s College of Science. “His deep sense of professionalism, integrity and human qualities are very hard to find these days in a single individual. He has deeply touched the lives of students, faculty and staff in our college and in the university at large. We will miss him dearly.”

Crawford was born in Ponca City, Okla., in 1942. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Phillips University in Enid, Okla., in 1965, a master’s degree in physics from the University of Arkansas in 1967 and a doctorate in physics from Kansas State University in 1972.

He joined the faculty of Texas State (then Southwest Texas State University) in 1972 as an assistant professor of physics. He rose quickly through the academic ranks and was promoted to associate professor of physics in 1976 and professor of physics in 1980. He was named acting chair of the Department of Physics in 1981 and was appointed to the position permanently in 1982.

In addition to his teaching and administrative duties at Texas State, Crawford was active in research, particularly in the fields of holography and holographic interferometry. He received numerous research grants and authored many scholarly papers, book reviews and journal articles.

Crawford influenced the lives of many students who took his classes at Texas State. In 1992, he was chosen to deliver the keynote address at commencement exercises for the Graduate College.

On that evening, he told the graduates, “Enjoy your work. Enjoy the world around you and never quit learning. Learning is how you change, grow and improve. You should not be the same person 10 years from now that you are today.”