S. Marie Kuhnen Remembered

S. Marie Kuhnen Scholarship Aids New Generation of Nature Lovers

Barbara Brummer '68 credits two teachers with nurturing her lifelong love of ecology, which has guided her professional career. The first was Mother Nature, whom Dr. Brummer met as a child growing up in the heart of the Meadowlands, fishing and catching tadpoles. The second is the late Professor S. Marie Kuhnen '41, Professor of Biology and longtime Chair of the Biology Department at Montclair State.

"She touched so many of her students' lives, instilling her enthusiasm for plants and birds around the world," Dr. Brummer recalls. "She was energetic, demanding but fair."

Professor Kuhnen helped Dr. Brummer land her first job as a clinical microbiologist at Paterson General Hospital in the summer of 1967.  She remained a lifelong mentor and friend as Dr. Brummer built an impressive career, including teaching at Montclair State, working as the President of Johnson & Johnson Canada, Inc., and serving as State Director of the New Jersey Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, a position that hearkens back to her love of the Meadowlands.   

After Professor Kuhnen died in 2009, at the age of 91, Dr. Brummer honored her memory by making the lead gift to the S. Marie Kuhnen Scholarship Fund.  The Fund was supplemented by gifts from a group of alumni from the classes of 1958-1959 who call themselves The Science Group, organized by Ralph Miano '58, as well as other alumni, colleagues and friends. 

The scholarship is awarded annually to a Montclair State biology major who intends to teach.  The current recipient is Anthony DeStefano '12, who hopes to teach environmental science in conjunction with biology or chemistry.

"Professor Kuhnen probably taught most of the biology teachers in New Jersey," Dr. Brummer says.  "We know this is how she would want to be remembered—passing her love of science and teaching to a new generation."