A.B. Van Cleave, known as “Van” to countless students and colleagues, was born on August 19, 1910, in Medicine Hat. He obtained BSc (1931) and MSc (1933) degrees in chemistry from the University of Saskatchewan. During his university years, he married Dorothy Yeo. Their family consisted of Galen, Elaine, Dalton and Carol. After PhD degrees from McGill and Cambridge, in 1937 he joined the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, where he built a reputation as an educator and researcher in surface chemistry. In 1962 he became chairman of the Division of Natural Sciences of the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan. He was appointed director of the School of Graduate Studies in 1965 and then Dean in 1969, when that School became a Faculty. For five years he also was Dean of the University College of Graduate Studies, which oversaw graduate education on both campuses of the University. From 1974 until his retirement in 1980, he continued as Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Regina.
He is best known for his work in designing the new high school chemistry curriculum in the 1960s. Dr. Van Cleave was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada, and a member of many organizations such as the Defence Research Board, the Faraday Society, the Saskatchewan Research Council, and the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He also served as chair of the Canadian Services College Advisory Board (1965) and as president of the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association (1949-51). He received the Centennial Medal (1967), the Order of Canada (1976), and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Regina (1980). He died on 27 April 1992.
W. David Chandler