Philip John Dziuk died peacefully at his home near Homer, Illinois, July 8, 2015, after a battle with cancer. Philip was born March 24, 1926 to Edmund William and Ellen (Carlin) Dziuk, Foley, Minnesota. Phil graduated from Foley High School in 1942. He worked on the family farm and attended the School of Agriculture, St. Paul, Minnesota, until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in January, 1945 and, after receiving boot camp training in Great Lakes, Illinois, was transferred to Herzi College in Chicago, returning to Great Lakes for 3 months of elementary Electricity and Radio Material training. He was sent to Treasure Island, California for transmitting, radar, and sonar training and finished training in January 1946. His rank was Electronic Technician’s Mate Third Class. He served as a petty officer and for radar duty on the U.S.S. Ajax traveling on the U.S.S. Ajax to Hawaii and Bikini Atoll. He was discharged on August 4, 1946.
With encouragement of his parents Phil enrolled in educational programs at the University of Minnesota in Animal Science receiving a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), 1950, Master of Science (M.S.), 1952, Ph.D., 1955. Phil joined the faculty of the Department of Animal Science, University of Illinois in 1955. He was an Assistant Professor (1955-61), Associate Professor (1961-67 and (beginning in 1967) Professor. He was a Professor Emeritus prior to his death. Dr. Dziuk’s research interests were in reproductive physiology where he became an internationally recognized leader in embryo transfer and fertility research and was author of over 150 publications in professional journals and book chapters. He was a board member, Society for Study of Reproduction; Society for Study of Fertility; American Society of Animal Science; American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Association of Anatomists. Dr. Dziuk received the 2001 Pioneer Award from the International Embryo Transfer Society. In addition to serving on editorial boards of a number of journals, Phil was awarded numerous academic honors, including awards from: The American Fertility Society, The American Society of Animal Science, Pork Producers Association, and The Society for the Study of Reproduction.
Phil enjoyed racquetball, sport fishing, woodworking and gardening and became a Master Gardener. He shared his wooden creations and his knowledge of gardening with many of his relatives and friends. While winning more than 250 racquetball trophies, Phil was nationally ranked more than once at the top of his age division. Philip believed that his family, wife, children and grandchildren, and his students were his most important legacy. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Patricia Weber, and children: Corinne, Constance, Rita, Catherine, Kenneth, Ronald, Carl, 18 grandchildren and his sister, Kathleen, and brother, Harold. He was preceded in death by a sister, Elaine. Phil was a member of the Minnesota Chapter of Farm House Fraternity, Knights of Columbus and Lions Club.
An interview with Philip on January 30, 2008, as part of the Illinois Public Media-WILL AM-FM-TV Central Illinois World War II Stories project is archived at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois. The video of this interview may be found under: Poles in America Foundation, Central Illinois World War II Stories, Oral; Poles.org Philip John Dziuk. A summary of Phil’s academic achievements can be found under: Philip J. Dziuk- International Embryo Transfer Society. Also an 8 minute interview in 2012 by the Department of Animal Science, University of Illinois and archived on June 27, 2013, with Phil about his academic career can be found at: philip j dziuk, reproductive physiology, You Tube.
Prepared by Harold E. Dziuk, August 10, 2015
Central Illinois World War II Stories - Oral History Interview: Philip John Dziuk...
The News-Gazette, November 17, 2015: Professor emeritus still making a racket...
IN MEMORIAM Dr. Philip J. Dziuk, Founder of SSR, 24 March 1926 – 8 July 2015
Philip J. Dziuk, founder of SSR, was born in Foley, Minnesota, 24 March 1926 and died 8 July 2015 in Homer, Illinois, after a short illness. He obtained his B.S (1950), M.S. (1952), and Ph.D. (1955) in Dairy Husbandry from the University of Minnesota. He was hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science, University of Illinois, in 1955, where he rose through the ranks and became a full professor, in 1968. He retired in 1988 as Professor Emeritus in Animal Sciences.
The Founding of SSR Dr. Dziuk was the leader in establishing the Society for the Study of Reproduction on the campus of University of Illinois, 21 June 1967. He organized the meeting after surveying a large number of people as to their interest in a new society. He served as chair of the first nominating committee. Dr. Dziuk served SSR in many capacities as a Director, Program Chair, on numerus committees, and as President in 1986.
Summary of Research Areas Dr. Dziuk was a pioneer and a leader in a number of areas in reproductive physiology and had an illustrious career—as can be seen in more than 150 publications. He and his colleagues did early work on embryo transfer in several species; control of ovulation and timing of stages of oocyte development and fertilization; electroejaculation in several species; spacing, migration, and distribution of embryos in the uterus; requirements for maintenance of pregnancy; passage of steroids through polysiloxane for long-term administration of steroids; understanding of heterospermic insemination; control of parturition by the fetus; artificial insemination, pinealectomy, detection of pregnancy, and estimation of litter size; effect of xenobiotics on reproduction; and methods for anesthesia and surgery. The conclusions reached in Dr. Dziuk’s studies have stood the test of time.
Silastic Implant Whereas all of these different areas of research have had and continue to have a major impact on reproductive physiology, certainly one of the most far reaching discoveries was that steroids could pass through polysiloxane (silastic) tubing. The first demonstration of this major finding was published in Endocrinology (P.J. Dziuk and B. Cook, Endocr.78:208-211, 1966). Quickly after this seminal publication, Dr. Dziuk showed the use of a silastic implant to regulate estrus in cows and sheep. At the time of the original publication, little thought was given to the world-wide impact of this discovery. The silastic implant was the basis for the contraceptive, Norplant, and worldwide use today of steroid patches by women of all ages.
Renowned Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows Dr. Dziuk left an impressive legacy to reproductive physiology through the students he taught. Among this list are many familiar names: G. BeVier, R. Nowak, S. Moenter, R.D. Baker, D.S. Dhindsa, G.D. Niswender, J.F. Roche, S.K Webel, D.R.Hagan, J.M.Robl, P.J.Thomford, M.C. Wu, and others. His philosophy of expecting students to assume primary responsibility for their careers resulted in his providing an opportunity for the students to do research in an area of their choosing. His students received a broad exposure to questions and various approaches to studies in reproductive physiology.
Numerous National and International Awards Dr. Dziuk was the recipient of numerous awards. A partial list follows: Lalor Fellowship (1958 and 1961); American Fertility Society Award for Achievement in research in reproduction in animals (1970); American Society of Animal Science Award for research in endocrinology and reproductive physiology (1971); Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award (1980); Fellow, American Society of Animal Science (1987); and Distinguished Service Award, SSR (1989).
Membership in Societies, Service to Societies, and Consultant Dr. Dziuk was a member of six societies. He served SSR in many capacities and was President in 1986. For the American Society of Animal Science, he was the Physiology Section Chairman and served on many committees. He was a member of editorial boards and also served on NIH study sections. Further evidence of his expertise and knowledge in reproductive biology was the number of requests he received to serve as a consultant. He was a consultant to 11 industries and served as an expert witness in litigation with a focus on reproductive problems.
Served the US during World War II Dr. Dziuk was always very proud, and rightfully so, of his service during World War II. He was in the Navy and was trained as an electronics engineer. He had a military funeral and was buried in Danville National Cemetery in Danville, Illinois, where more than 10,000 former service men and women are buried.
World Renowned Racquet Ball Player Dr. Dziuk was an avid and outstanding racquet ball player. Practically every day at noon he would go the University of Illinois’s intramural court, regardless of the duties of the day. He thoroughly enjoyed competing with younger players. Many times he would give them 18 points (game–21 points) and still beat them. The delight became greater as his hair turned gray, and he did not look like a treat to any racquet ball player. He won numerous awards in his age group. His office, with the many large medals, was comparative to that of an Olympic Star. Dr. Dziuk was truly an Olympic star—not just in racquet ball but also as a world-renowned reproductive physiologist and in the legacy he left us.
Janice M. Bahr
Past President of SSR University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
US Navy, World War II