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The Passing of Professor Chang Y. Ryu - Updated

From the President's Desk

To: The Rensselaer Community
Re: The Passing of Professor Chang Y. Ryu - Updated

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Dr. Chang Y. Ryu on July 18, 2021. He was 53. Dr. Ryu was a Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rensselaer and the Director of the New York State Center for Polymer Synthesis since 2014. 

Dr. Ryu was born in South Korea and earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Chemical Technology from Seoul National University, and a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. After postdoctoral research at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Dr. Ryu joined Rensselaer as an Assistant Professor in 2000. 

Dr. Ryu was a physical polymer scientist well known for his work on polymer characterization and the study of polymer structure/materials property relationships. He was a leader in polymer separation using adsorption behavior of molecular interactions and their nanoscale self-assembly in solution and thin films. Most recently, his group was studying the development of 3D printing materials based on naturally available vegetable oil-based chemicals. Dr. Ryu engaged in many productive collaborations with researchers in the U.S. and Korea. 

Dr. Ryu had over 70 research publications and was co-editor of the book Sustainable Polymers from Biomass. He presented his work at numerous conferences in the U.S. and South Korea. Dr. Ryu was a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award and obtained many government and industrial research grants throughout his career. He was also very active in service to his profession, in particular as a member of the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering, as well as the American Physics Society’s Division of Polymer Physics. Dr. Ryu also served previously as editorial board member and later as editor of the journal Macromolecular Research (Springer). 

Dr. Ryu was passionate about education and regularly taught courses to freshmen, juniors, and seniors. He mentored scores of students as a research or academic adviser throughout his 21 years at Rensselaer. Whether in the classroom, his laboratory, or his office, Dr. Ryu had a significant impact on the education and career path of many students. 

Dr. Ryu is survived by his wife, Young Kim; his daughters, Helene and Anna; his parents, Chang Sook and In Hong Ryu; his brother, Kwang Yeol Ryu; and other extended family. 

Our deepest thoughts are with the family and friends of Dr. Chang Ryu and we honor the contributions he made to both the Rensselaer community and to the world. He will be greatly missed by colleagues, students, former students, and friends. A memorial service will be held at the Chapel and Cultural Center, located at 2125 Burdett Ave., Troy, in August. Details will follow.

Counseling and grief services are available for students through the Rensselaer Counseling Center. An appointment can be made by calling (518) 276-6479. Faculty and staff seeking counseling and grief support may contact the Employee Assistance Program by calling (800) 327-2251.