Ronald C. Gordon

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Ronald C. Gordon (August 13, 1933 - August 14, 2004) was a scientist and professor who lived for a time in Charlottesville.



Gordon was born to Rev. Robert L. Gordon and Georgia Clayton Gordon in Petersburg, Virginia. He attended and graduated from Peabody High School in 1950, and received his bachelor's in physics from Virginia State University in 1955. From 1955 to 1957, Gordon served as an officer in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.[1]

Following the war, Gordon returned to the US; he lived and worked first in Washington, D.C., where he was employed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Later, he and his wife, Vivian V. Gordon, moved to Santa Monica, California, where he worked as a physicist for McConnell-Douglas Aircraft.

In 1968, Gordon finished his master's degree in physics at Virginia State University. Later that year, an automobile accident made him a quadriplegic, leaving him wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. Gordon underwent rehabilitative care and decided to continue his career in academia. He finished his Ph.D in biomedical engineering in 1978 at the University of Virginia as a National Institute of Health Fellow.[2]

The portrait of Dr. Gordon by Frances Brand

After receiving his Ph.D, Dr. Gordon stayed at UVA, where he taught in three different departments of the Medical School. He only left the school to become an expert scientific analyst for the U.S. Army, a position he served in until Governor George Allen appointed him as commissioner of rehabilitative services for the state of Virginia in 1994.

Dr. Gordon remained in public service until his retirement in 1997. He and his second wife, Anne, established a religious missionary in Ghana, where they lived until 2003. He passed away on August 14, 2004, in Maryland.

During his time in Charlottesville, Dr. Gordon was painted by Frances Brand as part of her "Firsts" Series.[3]