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A son’s tribute by Linus Pauling Jr.

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Linus Pauling Jr.

Linus Pauling Jr. speaks at an assembly at Linus Pauling Middle School in Corvallis on Tuesday afternoon. (Andy Cripe | Corvallis Gazette-Times)

Linus Pauling Jr. couldn’t have picked a better day to visit Linus Pauling Middle School: Tuesday was his late father’s birthday, and he spent most of it at the school named for the internationally known scientist and peace activist.

Linus Pauling Sr., an American chemist, is the only person to receive two unshared Nobel Prizes — for his research in chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. He died in 1994 at the age of 93.

Linus Pauling Middle School at 1111 N.W. Cleveland Ave. opened 10 years after the elder Pauling’s death. A display case devoted to Linus Pauling and a large framed poster of the him are located in the school’s office. The auditorium is named after his wife, Ava Helen Pauling, who died in 1981. The Paulings were married for 58 years.

Their son, a retired psychiatrist, was visiting from Hawaii. It was the 86-year-old’s fourth visit to Linus Pauling Middle School, and the school held its monthly “Lessons from Linus” assembly to coincide with his most recent visit.

The assemblies aim to help students learn about their school’s famous namesake and his most important qualities and contributions. Tuesday, students learned from Pauling’s son about his dedication and commitment to peace.

Linus Pauling Jr. delivered a brief speech during the assembly and stressed the importance of education and valuing your strengths.

“What you are best suited for is what you should pursue,” Pauling said. “I wish you the absolute very best in your futures.”

Keeping with the peace theme, during the assembly, the Corvallis Veterans for Peace chapter made Pauling an honorary member and officially announced that the chapter was being renamed the Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter 132.

Linus Pauling Jr. is a World War II veteran.

“Linus Pauling and Ava Helen created a legacy,” said Bart Bolger, the president of the newly renamed chapter. “A legacy that we can learn from and be inspired by.”

In addition to speaking during the Lessons from Linus assembly, Pauling visited classrooms, ate lunch with staff members and community leaders and visited with eighth-grade humanities students.

“I was so honored to be here,” Pauling said. “I wish my father could’ve been here. He would’ve really appreciated the students’ enthusiasm.”

After the assembly, Pauling greeted students, posed with them for pictures and signed autographs.

Eighth-grader Ambyr Langley said that it’s an honor to attend a school named after such an influential person. She was excited to hear Pauling speak.

“What I really took away from him is how much he hoped we’d get a great education,” Ambyr said. “He came from a very educated family, so he he hoped we would take our education seriously.”

Raju Woodward can be contacted at 758-9526 or




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