As Dr. Wayne Takacs’ 80th birthday approached, his four children planned a unique gift that would honor their dad. His daughter, Kathy, came up with the idea of a donation to Saint Francis. After a few meetings with university faculty and staff, they decided the donation would be used to name a conference room in honor of their dad in the Saint Francis University Science Center.
The university holds a special place in the heart of the Takacs family. Dr. Takacs retired in 2010 after 45 years of service to the Biology department and Saint Francis University. He was the department chair for many years and hired most of the faculty that are in place in the department today. All four of the Takacs siblings received their degrees from SFU and now have successful careers.
On Easter Saturday the entire Takacs family gathered together in the newly dedicated conference room to surprise Dr. and Mrs. Takacs. Speaking on behalf of her siblings, daughter Nancy said, “Next to God and his family, my dad loves Saint Francis more than anything. He’s had an impact on so many students and faculty, and we were all educated and have loved our experience here.”
“Dr. Takacs was well-respected on campus by all faculty, not just those in the sciences,” remembers Robert Crusciel, VP of Advancement. “I knew I could always get a straight answer from Wayne. He always had an open door policy for everyone. He had respect from faculty and students because he was fair. He held high standards for himself and students.”
Dr. Takacs served his Biology students through his quiet, self-effacing, but nevertheless demanding and highly effective instruction in both the classroom and laboratory. His instruction has been based upon the belief, and insistence, that students must revere all intellectual endeavor.
Current Biology department chair, Dr. Justin Merry who was hired by Dr Takacs remembers, “Dr. Takacs was an influential mentor and supporter of the faculty that he worked with during his long-standing term as Biology Department chair. I try to model what I do after his example: being encouraging and understanding, but always striving for excellence.”
Outside the classroom, he has practiced what his discipline preaches: “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” These accomplishments, as well as his devotion to family and commitment to community service, make Dr. Takacs’ career a sterling example of the balanced life to which most of us aspire.