Christopher Barney Named to New
Weier Endowed Chair in Biology
Posted June 20, 2001
HOLLAND -- Dr. Christopher Barney of the Hope
College biology faculty has been named to the college's new
"T. Elliot Weier Chair in Biology."
Barney is a professor of biology and chair of the
department, and has been a member of the Hope faculty since
1980. He was appointed to the chair for a 10-year term by
the college's Board of Trustees in May, and was honored
during an investiture ceremony held at the college on
Monday, June 18.
The chair, designated for a Hope biologist with a
distinguished record as a teacher and scholar, has been
established through the estate of T. Elliot and Katherine S.
Weier. T. Elliot Weier graduated from Hope in 1926, and
Katherine S. Weier in 1921. T. Elliot died on Oct. 14,
1991, and Katherine on March 19, 1977. In accord with the
terms of the bequest, the holder of the chair is to be
publicly referred to as "The Weier Professor of Plant
T. Elliot Weier had been a member of the botany
faculty at the University of California-Davis for 33 years,
until his retirement in 1969. He was a world authority on
plant cell structure.
Among other honors, he received a Merit Award from
the Botanical Society of America in 1988. Hope presented
him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1978.
His internationally recognized research focused on
photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light
energy into cell energy. He pioneered the use of the
electron microscope in studying cell structure. He also
developed an introductory plant biology course and co-
authored a widely-used textbook to accompany it.
Weier had completed his doctorate in botany at the
University of Michigan in 1929. In addition to his long-
time tenure at UC-Davis, he had also spent a year as a
fellow at the University of Louvain, Belgium; a year as a
National Research Council Fellow at Cornell University; a
year as an instructor at St. Lawrence University; a year at
Connecticut College; and two years at Oregon State College.
Katherine Weier had also done graduate work in
botany at the University of Michigan, and later worked in
the botany department at the University of California. She
and her husband co-authored a variety of publications in
botany and cytology.
Barney joined the Hope faculty as an assistant
professor in 1980, and was promoted to associate professor
in 1986 and full professor in 1992. He has chaired the
department of biology since 1996.
He served a term as the college's Faculty
Moderator, and from 1996 to 2000 was a faculty
representative on Hope's Board of Trustees. An active
member of the Hope community, he led a seminar during the
college's "Winter Happening" in January of 1999.
Through the years he has taught courses including
"Principles of Biology," "Human Physiology," "Vertebrate
Physiology," and "Science and Human Values," in addition to
engaging in collaborative research with Hope students. His
current research emphasis is on the role of hormones in
water balance and blood pressure regulation.
He has received more than 20 external grants in
support of his research and education, including grants from
the National Institutes of Health and the National Science
Foundation (NSF). He serves as a grant reviewer for the NSF
and a manuscript reviewer for "The American Journal of
Physiology." He has written or co-authored more than 50
articles for professional journals, in addition to making
numerous presentations at professional conferences.
He was a member of the Holland East Middle School
PTA Feasibility Committee and the PTA Executive Committee.
He is a member of St. Francis De Sales Church, where he has
chaired the Adult and Family Faith Formation Board and the
Barney did his undergraduate work at Wright State
University. He obtained his Ph.D. in medical physiology
from Indiana University in 1977 and then spent three years
doing research at the University of Florida Medical School.
Barney is married to Julie Ann Surface Barney, who
also works at Hope College, and he has two college-age
children, Jeremy and Kara.