In Memoriam: Walter Loy ’55

Professor Emeritus of Physics Walter Loy ’55 died on Wednesday, September 28.

By: Meghan Kita  Tuesday, November 8, 2022 03:54 PM

Loy (pictured, from the 1995 Ciarla yearbook) taught at Muhlenberg for 35 years and was chair of the Department of Physics from 1980 to 1994. He also served as the acting vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College during the 1984-1985 academic year.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg, a master’s from Drexel University and a Ph.D. from Temple University, all in physics. As a Muhlenberg student, he was class president, a brother in Lambda Chi Alpha, a member of the track and cross country teams and part of the Chapel Choir.

Former students remember his accessibility, in an era (specifically the 1960s and 1970s) when that wasn’t necessarily the norm, as well as his patience and kindness. His enthusiasm for physics came across in his teaching and was contagious. He cared about his students’ wellbeing, both inside and outside the classroom. He embodied the liberal arts and brought in elements of other disciplines to his courses, when applicable. His reputation extended beyond the department; his physics class for non-majors was a popular selection to fulfill one of the College’s math and science requirements.

Former colleagues remember his integrity and his down-to-earth nature, even as he earned numerous awards for teaching and for service to the College. He was an instrumental part of faculty committees that examined which courses should be required for all students at Muhlenberg. He did what needed to be done, for the College and for the Department of Physics: In his final semester of teaching before retirement, he agreed to teach a new course on light and optics for non-physics majors. The department needed to offer such a course and he stepped up to do the work.

Loy was devoted to his family and had a variety of hobbies, including travel, music, carpentry and genealogy. He was an active Lutheran who assisted in worship services, sang in his congregation’s choir and led adult classes.

Survivors include his wife, Janet ’75, three children (Walter III, David, Cynthia), four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.