The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 7, 2012

Pfeiffer remembers Stephenson, professor emeritus of physics


Wednesday, November 7, 2012 — Pfeiffer University mourns the death of Dr. Harold P. Stephenson, professor emeritus of physics, who died Nov. 3.

Stephenson, who was a member of Pfeiffer’s faculty from 1960 until he retired in 1990, served as chair, department of physics; associate professor and full professor of physics; and as a member of the Awards and Honors, Honorary Degrees, Visiting Scholars and Teacher Education committees. He chaired the United Way Fund and was president of Phi Delta Sigma Honor Society. He was named professor emeritus in 1992.

His undergraduate, graduate and doctoral experiences took place at Duke University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1947, master of arts in physics in 1949 and doctorate in physics in 1952. He graduated in 1943 from Reidsville High School in Rockingham County.

“Pfeiffer University has lost one of its greatest representatives,” said Dr. Mark McCallum, chair and professor, department of biology and interim dean, division of arts and science.

“His former students and colleagues will always remember him for his love of Pfeiffer and gift for teaching physics to undergraduate students.”

Prior to arriving at Pfeiffer University, Stephenson taught physics at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Ill., and mechanical engineering at Duke University; worked as a physicist for the Office of Ordinance Research (U.S. Army); and conducted research for the Applied Physics Lab, Johns Hopkins University. Professional affiliations included the American Association of Physics Teachers, National Science Teachers Association, American Association of University Professors and Phi Theta Kappa. Throughout his career, he published a number of research articles in physics and chemistry scholarly journals, including Illinois Academy of Science Transactions, Journal of the American Chemical Society and Journal of Chemical Physics.

Stephenson, who enjoyed opera, gardening and volunteering for his church, is survived by his wife, Sarah, and their children Ellen (’81), who lives in Montana, and Mark (’84), of Misenheimer.

A memorial service will be held on Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m., Henry Pfeiffer Chapel on Pfeiffer’s Misenheimer campus, 48380 US 52 N. Memorial gifts may be directed to WDAV(89.9) FM radio,, whose programming is devoted to classical music. On Dec. 22, the anniversary of Stephenson’s birth, WDAV-FM is holding a sponsorship day in Stephenson’s honor.