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2016 Achievement Award winner's work has created therapies to treat illness

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s Distinguished Achievement Award winner for 2016, in 35-plus years as a biochemist, developed therapies to help those suffering from some common but serious illnesses.

Duane Schroeder, Orinda, California, graduated from Bethel in 1962 with a B.A. and a double major in chemistry and psychology. He was a member of Bethel’s honor society, the Order of the Golden A.

He also spent his summers as a college student doing research with Professor Ronald Rich, working on a scheme of inorganic qualitative analysis using the hexacyano-cobaltate ion instead of the more conventional sulfide ion.

Schroeder went straight from Bethel to a Ph.D. program at Tulane University, New Orleans, where he majored in biochemistry and minored in organic chemistry.

After three years at Tulane, he went to Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, where he completed his Ph.D. thesis research in biochemistry with a National Institutes of Health Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.

From 1967-69, holding a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Schroeder did post-doc work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He started as a research biochemist with Cutter Laboratories (later Miles Laboratories and finally Bayer Corporation) in 1969, remaining there until retirement in 2005.

Schroeder’s many accomplishments include inventing the first intravenous gamma globulin sold in the United States to treat severe immunodeficiency. He also developed therapies for hemophilia, emphysema and thrombosis.

His laboratory worked to speed the testing of biotechnology products to fight HIV and pulmonary disease. Later, he directed the transition to genetic engineering of new proteins.

At Cutter/Miles/Bayer, Schroeder moved from senior research biochemist to section leader for new product research and then biochemical research manager and associate director for biochemical research and development (R&D). He later served as the assistant to the vice president of R&D, helping to oversee approximately 130 scientists.

Schroeder is the co-author of several dozen journal articles related to his research over the years.

Schroeder and his wife, Lois (Epp) Schroeder, a 1963 Bethel graduate, are the parents of three and grandparents of 11. His hobbies include working with metals, from jewelry through cars, and family genealogy.

Schroeder noted that, growing up on a farm in rural Moundridge, he learned equipment repair and maintenance from his father and uncles. From his early teens, he began to build a hot rod based on a 1926 Model T Ford with a high-powered Chrysler V8 engine – a purple coupe he drove during his Bethel days and which he still has, taking it to car shows and drag racing.

These days, he uses his welding and construction skills to make artwork and jewelry for friends and family.

He said his long-standing interest in genealogy also started in his Bethel days, with assignments in his Mennonite History class with Cornelius Krahn.

The Bethel College Alumni Association presents the Distinguished Achievement Award to acknowledge character and citizenship, achievement in a chosen profession or vocation, and work of benefit to humanity.

Schroeder will receive the award and be honored along with other alumni award winners at the annual Alumni Banquet, June 4 at noon in Memorial Hall.

Discount price for the banquet is $22.50 per person if paying by May 20, $25 regular price May 21-25. For reservations, contact Thresher Shop in Schultz Student Center, 316-284-5205. Payment or credit card information is required when the reservation is made. No refunds can be given after May 27, since after that the Alumni Office will have been charged for reserved meals.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2015–16 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2015–16. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.